I have been hearing in the news recently a lot of talk about the new heavy vehicle national regulations (i.e. Chain of Responsibility). This is good in general as it raises awareness of the importance around some of these issues addressed by the legislation. But some of is is not helpful. We see this type of news whenever new legislation is introduced. There is always going to be some concern, confusion and yes probably some hyperbole regarding what the effects might be.
Much of the concern is around fears of increased compliance burden for small business and in this case farmers. So is this true? Well, if we listen to the national regulator (i.e. the ones writing and regulating this law) then the answer is no. Please have a look at the video series published by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.
I also agree and my reasons are two-fold.
- The laws are designed to be more in accord with national health and safety legislation. So current systems for management of risk will be easily applied and may already have been done so.
- The laws introduce the concept of reasonably practicable as a test for what the expectation of business in relation being compliant.
Both of these concepts allow for and encourage a simple but effective approach to risk around heavy vehcile movement and loading. That is.
- Determine hazards via consultation, inspections and safety observations etc
- Conduct risk assessments and establish a site / company risk register.
- Implement appropriate controls such as procedures, training, load checks, equipment maintenance (i.e. the stuff you are probably already doing)
- Make sure this is happening with audits / reviews.
And of course ideally build all of this into a robust system to give the company assurance that they are achieving compliance.
If you need help with any of this of course feel free to contact us.