Changes to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws are coming in mid 2018. These changes align CoR laws more closely with workplace health and safety laws.
If you consign, pack, load or receive goods as part of your business, you could be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) even though you have no direct role in driving or operating a heavy vehicle. In addition, corporate entities, directors, partners and managers are accountable for the actions of people under their control. This is the Chain of Responsibility (CoR).
The aim of CoR is to make sure everyone in the supply chain shares equal responsibility for ensuring breaches of the HVNL do not occur. Under CoR laws if you are named as a party in the chain of responsibility and you exercise (or have the capability of exercising) control or influence over any transport task, you have a responsibility to ensure the HVNL is complied with.
The law recognises that multiple parties may be responsible for offences committed by the drivers and operators of heavy vehicles. A person may be a party in the supply chain in more than one way. For example they may have duties as the employer, the operator and the consigner of goods.
Legal liability applies to all parties for their actions or inactions.
A person who is a party in the chain of responsibility includes, but is not limited to:
Some examples include:
Contracts that require a driver to break the law are illegal.
In a prosecution, the courts may consider the actions of each party in the supply chain. This includes what measures those parties have in place to prevent breaches of the HVNL occurring. Each party in the chain must demonstrate to the Court that they took all reasonable steps to prevent the contravention or show the court that there were no steps they could reasonably be expected to have taken to prevent the contravention.