At the NHVR, we are always looking at ways we can partner with industry to improve driver safety and ultimately enhance the safety of Australian roads for all road users.
One of our updated safety initiatives is the NHVR’s Guidelines for Preparing and Registering Industry Codes of Practice, which can be accessed via the NHVR website [or by clicking here].
The guidelines are designed to make it easier for industry groups to develop a specific code by providing more resources to assist in coordinating, compiling and drafting the information as part of the approval process.
We’ve also simplified the risk management criteria to ensure it focuses only on the key information required to meets the needs of operators and supply chain businesses.
Importantly, the new process has a much greater focus on a working partnership between industry and the NHVR.
Through this partnership, industry representatives will bring industry knowledge and experience to the table, ensuring that there is broad consultation and input.
While the NHVR will facilitate working groups and progress reporting and will undertake most of the drafting work.
This new working partnership will produce codes of practice that comply with the guidelines and help industry manage safety in practical ways.
Codes of practice can be useful tools in assisting the various sectors of the heavy vehicle industry to meet their chain of responsibility provisions and ensure the safety of their transport activities.
They do this by providing information about the risks associated with heavy vehicle transport and providing recommendations for a range of measures that can be implemented to eliminate or minimise those risks.
The guidelines were first introduced in 2017 and led to the development of the Master Code in 2018. The Master Code was jointly developed by the Australian Logistics Council and Australian Trucking Association and approved by the NHVR for all individuals and businesses involved in the heavy vehicle industry.
It addressed the risks associated with four core responsibilities of CoR, including speed compliance, fatigue management, vehicle standards and mass dimension and loading.
It was a great example of collaboration between the industry, industry representatives and the NHVR and is still a very important document despite the changes in technology and systems over the past four years.
Almost five years on from the release of the first guidelines, the latest version will continue to support industries to progress their own codes of practice, that address the full range of risks specific to their particular task.
And I’m pleased to say that there are several industry groups collaborating with the NHVR to transition their draft codes to comply with the new guidelines.
These industries range from cranes or forestry, to waste and recycling or moving grapes for the wine industry. Importantly the revised guidelines allow the NHVR and industry representatives to contribute according to their capabilities.
And while safety is the primary task of a code of practice, it can be so much more.
Based on practical industry experience and knowledge, a registered code of practice should also improve efficiency and enable businesses that work together to develop compatible systems and procedures.
It again demonstrates that a safe heavy vehicle industry is a productive heavy vehicle industry.
Sal Petroccitto is the CEO of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.