In brief - How will your business control, eliminate or minimise its transport risks in light of HVNL amendments?

Chain of Responsibility (CoR) has been enhanced with the amendments to the Heavy Vehicle National Laws (HVNL) to implement a risk-based safety management system and compliance framework, which commenced on the 1 October 2018.

The amendments impose a proactive primary duty of care on all parties who have control or influence over the transportation of goods in a supply chain where the transportation of goods by heavy vehicles (i.e. over 4.5 tonne GVM or ATM) play a part. The CoR includes persons at all stages of the supply chain, from operators and packers, to employers, contractors and executive officers. 

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator approved a new Master Industry Code of Practice in November 2018. The Code of Practice includes a risk-based safety framework as a guide for parties within the transportation chain to develop and implement their safety management systems to identify the risks in the business operations and implement the reasonably practicable controls.

Does your business comply with the Industry Master Code of Practice?

Ensuring your business meets the requirements of the Code of Practice is no easy task. An industry supported audit tool to test compliance, such as the Australian Logistics Council Master Code Auditing Service (AMCAS) provided for ALC members and their service providers, is one step to drive compliance and manage risk in your business.

The Code of Practice applies to a broad range of industries—from agriculture, coal, construction, food, manufacturing, mining, petroleum and wood—and to all persons who:

  • control or direct heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes 
  • schedule, request or send or receive goods using heavy vehicles 
  • assemble, package or control the packing of goods for heavy vehicles, and 
  • load or unload or control such activity 
  • import goods into Australia for transport by heavy vehicles

Managing your business's transport risk is key

If the goods from your business are involved in any of the above transport steps involving heavy vehicles, your safety management system and officer due diligence arrangements must, on a risk management basis, identify and manage all the risks of your goods travelling through the transportation chain of responsibility.

To ensure that your business meets the new safety standards, you should seek legal advice.

Read more about the HVNL amendments in our recent articles Navigating the Heavy Vehicle National Law: Commercial considerations for directors, executives and compliance teams, and Impacts of Heavy Vehicle National Law on construction industry.


This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

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