After a protracted process over many years with plenty of false starts, an effective Advanced Fatigue Management template is to, finally, be allowed. From July 1, livestock transport operators will be able to access a new level of flexibility in fatigue management by using an agreed template for the AFM scheme.
The initiative, developed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator working with the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, will enable AFM accredited operators to work up to 14 hours each day on a fortnightly cycle with ‘risk off-setting’ restrictions around driving between midnight and 4 am and frequent stops for welfare checking.
An NHVR statement reckons the scheme will be extended to allow AFM accredited operators access to longer work days and the ability to pool hours across multiple days and provide a safe, simpler and more flexible arrangement in the management of fatigue across the livestock transport industry.
“The new approach to the management of fatigue under the Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) option uses a prototype or template to help livestock transport operators to appropriately manage their work and rest hours in a way which is suitable to the unique demands faced by these operators,” said Geoff Casey, NHVR Executive Director, Productivity and Safety. “Up until now, operators had to invest significant time and money into developing their own separate safety case to apply for the AFM option.”
The ALRTA welcomed the announcement and ALRTA Vice President, Graeme Hoare, commended the cooperative approach taken by NHVR to improve the operating environment for livestock transporters.
“NHVR staff have worked closely with ALRTA member operators to understand our driving task and the parallel animal welfare requirements that apply,” said Hoare. “The template will deliver much needed flexibility for livestock transporters to complete their often unpredictable tasks in remote environments and take better quality rest at more convenient times and locations. This will improve productivity, driver safety and animal welfare outcomes in the Australian livestock supply chain.”
AFM templates offer a new route to enter the AFM scheme under the Heavy Vehicle National Law. In its statement, the ALRTA said standardised templates allow the fatigue risks to be considered ‘up front’ so that individual operators do not each have to present their own safety case, reducing the cost and red-tape associated with an AFM application.
“There are many operators who are interested in the AFM option but who have been deterred by the previous complex and expensive application system,” said Hoare. “The template package is easy to understand and will be a simple transition for operators already accredited under BFM. New entrants will also be greatly assisted by the package of supporting information that clearly outlines the operational requirements and how to meet them.”
Real world data supplied to the NHVR by the ALRTA, and assessed by fatigue experts, demonstrated the Livestock Template is low risk when the appropriate risk offsets are applied. The Livestock Transport Fatigue Management Scheme Template will be available on the NHVR website from July 1.
“This initiative will allow more livestock transport operators to access flexible fatigue management practices that balance freight efficiency with safe operations,” said Ross Fraser, Managing Director of Frasers Livestock Transport and ALRTA Large and National Operators committee member.
“Real world data that informed the approach clearly showed that there are times when we need to work longer hours, but when this was necessary, it was done in a way that any potential risks were managed by extra rest or sleep to off-set the fatigue risks. We commend the NHVR for recognising the unique transport challenges of the livestock transport industry.”