The extension of an exemption to Work Diary rules has been announced by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. Currently, the National Work Diary Exemption is for all those working within 100 km of their base. However, all of those working under BFM or AFM in NSW will, in the future, have to maintain a work diary, even when working close to home.
From March 7 2016, all drivers, (including those in New South Wales) working under BFM or AFM must carry and complete a National Driver Work Diary, even when they are working within a 100 km of their base. This was originally slated to come into effect on January 1, but the NHVR has given operators an extra couple of months to make the transition.
From the NHVR’s point of view, it considers drivers operating under BFM or AFM as having access to longer work hours and, therefore, maintaining work diaries is an essential component of their fatigue risk management system, allowing schedulers and operators to monitor drivers’ work hours and potential fatigue.
The concession and exemption has only been in effect for drivers in NSW, the change by the NHVR strengthens the move towards nationally consistent fatigue rules. These changes were part of the negotiations to extend the 160 km exemption for primary producers from NSW and Queensland into Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. Another move towards national consistency.
Rural operators should also note, those drivers working under the Primary Producers Exemption Scheme, but who are also part of a Basic Fatigue Management or Advanced Fatigue Management scheme will also have to fill out a Work Diary at all times.
Although these changes may inconvenience some drivers or operators, this approach will see a major extension to the national consistency in road rules for the trucking industry, as a whole.