Awards, Fatigue Research, Brake Testing and the RSRT 

Getting the Wheel End Right

This week’s headlines from Diesel News include Industry Awards, Fatigue Research, Brake Testing and the RSRT.

Any transport business, which employs drivers, is covered by the Road Transport and Distribution Award 2010 and the Road Transport (Long Distance Operations) Award 2010. These are undergoing a review by the Fair Work Commission at the moment.

The Transport Workers Union has entered two submissions. One for the Long Distance Award and a second for the Distribution Award.

According to NatRoad, some of the changes proposed by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) should be opposed, as the changes would impose costs on its members by adding to the costs of employing drivers without any productivity offsets.

The trucking industry has until March 2 to submit any documents opposing the reforms suggested. After that the changes will be put to the Fair Work Commission, before any final outcome is known by June or July 2017.

Awards, Fatigue Research, Brake Testing and the RSRT 

At the end of last year, Darren Chester, Federal Transport Minister announced an $828,000 investment in a joint project involving the National Transport Commission, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, Cooperative Research Centre for Alertness, Safety and Productivity, universities and industry. The funding has been committed for the next two years to ensure the research is finalised and available to Ministers in 2018.

“The Heavy Vehicle National Law fatigue rules are complex, with detailed provisions about how to count work and rest time and overlapping 24 hour counting periods,” Noelene Watson, Australian Trucking Association Chair. “Complying with the rules is stressful for drivers and operators, because of the risk of making a mistake.

“And despite the complexity of the rules, there is only limited evidence available about their impact on driver fatigue and safety. Some state enforcement agencies have called for changes to the rules, particularly in relation to what are called nose-to-tail schedules. The ATA pointed out in 2014 that there was not enough evidence about the practice for governments to make an informed decision. The research will address this issue.”

The ongoing delay in finalising brake testing rules has been further extended to June 30 2017. The NHVR and Road and Maritime Services had originally set the expiration date at the end of this month, January 31.

The decision means heavy vehicles achieving a brake test result greater than 3kN/t, but less than 4.5kN/t will continue to be given an official warning on first time detection, but not breached.

“We are continuing to review national brake test results collected by Roads and Maritime and industry to determine the most appropriate way to test types of trailer brakes,” said Daniel Elkins, NHVR Safety Director. “We need to better understand why some types of trailers are not able to meet the brake performance standard. It is applicable that we extend the current transition period in NSW to June 30.”

The Australian Logistics Council has welcomed the Australian Government’s response to a report by the Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman into the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT).

“Since it was first proposed in 2010, ALC has always opposed the introduction of the RSRT”, said Michael Kilgariff, ALC Managing Director. “The tribunal was intentioned to improve heavy vehicle safety and prevent fatalities on the road. In reality, it had the opposite effect, taking focus away from “chain of responsibility” laws that place a legal obligation on supply-chain operators to take action to prevent speeding, fatigue, mass limits and loading infringements.

“The only tangible outcome of the tribunal was the delivery of significant regulatory overlap, confusion, inefficiencies and costs.nFor this reason, ALC shares the Government’s concern that the application by the Transport Workers Union to vary the NSW General Carriers Contract Determination will reintroduce the same inefficiencies in that State, with no tangible safety benefit.”