The next stage in the renewal of the Advanced Fatigue Management has been announced by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) with the appointment of an independent panel to advise on decisions it takes in relation to the scheme. The Fatigue Expert Reference Group (FERG) will provide advice on AFM applications and templates regarding their effectiveness in combatting fatigue and compliance with guidelines.
“Under one Regulator and one rule book, Australia’s transport ministers have entrusted the NHVR to run a single AFM scheme for the country,” said Sal Petroccitto, NHVR CEO. “Now that the national law has commenced, the NHVR is the sole government agency approving AFM accreditation and we take that responsibility seriously.
“When we accredit an operator under AFM, we are delivering the highest possible level of recognition for fatigue management practice the NHVR can give. To support us in taking those decisions, we have assembled, through the FERG, the highest possible level of fatigue management expertise and experience.
“Operators accredited under the AFM scheme have NHVR approval to move beyond simply counting hours in a driver’s diary to running their entire business with a direct focus on managing fatigue. They are accountable for making sure their drivers are truly fit for duty and have good fatigue management in place, not only during each journey, but every day of the week that could impact on that journey.”
Under AFM, operators should have more flexibility to schedule rosters to suit the freight task and drivers should have better control of their work and rest hours. The NHVR says this results in greater staff retention and better safety outcomes for the business overall.
Under the AFM business rules, the NHVR must refer certain AFM applications to the FERG for advice. This will include many current AFM-accredited operators who were approved by former state-based regulators.
Under the AFM Business Rules, the NHVR are supposed to screen AFM applicants using the ‘Risk Classification System’ (RCS). Applications which have multiple medium or high risks must be referred to the FERG for advice. When a case is referred to FERG the operator will submit a safety case, either in writing or in person.
The FERG will include, Chair, Carolyn Walsh (Chair), who is a Commissioner in the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Deputy Chair and Commissioner of the National Transport Commission. She has over 25 years experience in policy development, regulation and safety management at both the Commonwealth and state levels, with 10 years experience in the transport sector, including as the founding Chief Executive of the NSW Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator (ITSRR).
Also sitting on the panel will be Professor Drew Dawson, who established the sleep research group at the University of Adelaide in 1992. He has research interests in safety science, applied psychology, human factors and safety management systems, and cultural anthropology.
Another member is Professor Philippa Gander, who is the Director, Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Research School of Public Health at the Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. She is involved in the development of national and international regulatory frameworks for fatigue risk management.
Professor Narelle Haworth is Deputy Director, Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety Queensland (CARRS-Q) atQueensland University of Technology. Working as the Professor in Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation at CARRS-Q, she has conducted extensive research in road safety, covering studies of fatigue in driving, seat belt wearing by truck drivers, road user behaviour in developing countries, development of data collection methodologies, driver training and licensing, coin-operated breath testing machines, motorcycle and scooter safety and single vehicle crashes.
From the Aviation Safety and Director of Transport and Road Safety Research at the University of New South Wales, Professor Ann Williamson leads research into the area of human factors, focussing on the effects of fatigue and the role of human error in injury and safety.