How changes to the Heavy Vehicles laws will affect farmers

Changes to the Chain of Responsibility laws will come into force on October 1, 2018.  The changes align these laws more closely with workplace health and safety laws.  This means that everyone in the heavy vehicle transport supply chain – including farmers – has a duty to ensure the safety of their transport activities and that breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law do not happen.

What does this mean for primary producers?

The following questions and answers should help.

Do farmers need to be there when the vehicle is loaded?

No.  So long as farmers can be sure the goods will be safely accessible and the driver will have all the information, equipment and assistance required, farmers do not need to be present during loading.

Do farmers need to know how much their produce weighs?

Yes.  Farmers should be able to advise the transporter of the weight of their produce with a reasonable degree of accuracy by some means of assessment.

Do famers need to make sure the load is restrained?

Maybe.  If farmers load and restrain the goods themselves, they need to make sure the goods are loaded legally and safely.  If a transporter is responsible for loading a farmer’s goods, the agreement with them should include a requirement that they load legally and safely.

Do farmers need to check the driver’s work diary?

No.  Farmers should only work with transporters who give them confidence they are managing fatigue effectively. If a farmer notices a driver is tired, or complains about needing rest, they should report it, take steps to allow the driver to rest, or use another driver.

Do farmers need to check the vehicle’s maintenance records or inspect vehicles for roadworthiness?

No.  Farmers are not required to physically inspect vehicles but they should work with transporters who they are confident are maintaining their vehicles.  If farmers see something about a vehicle that they think makes it unsafe they should report it to the transporter.

Do farmers need to check driver licences, registration, insurance or permits?

No.  This responsibility sits with the transporter.  Farmers should make this clear in their agreements with drivers.

Are farmers responsible if the driver speeds?

No.  In most circumstances farmers don’t have control or influence over what happens when their goods leave their property.  Farmers should allow enough time for loading, travel and unplanned delays without making requests that put pressure on drivers to speed.

Further information about how the changes to the law could affect you is on the website.

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