After a long and difficult gestation period, beginning when the first of the fatigue management schemes were proposed over ten years ago, the livestock transport industry has a scheme it can work with. The NHVR has issued the first approval under the Livestock AFM Template which allows a 14 day work cycle.
The first successful applicant is an owner-driver from SE QLD and this approval represents the results of consistent lobbying and discussions by livestock operators trying to get enough flexibility in the Advanced Fatigue Management scheme to meet animal welfare and driver rest concerns.
The new template comes under the rather lengthy title of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Livestock Transport Fatigue Management Scheme (LTFMS), and Goondiwindi owner driver Pat Mulligan, who currently subcontracts to a large SE Queensland livestock transport business is the first to get approval.
“The scheme will be of great benefit during busy work periods as the livestock industry continues to function outside of a traditional working week,” said Mulligan. “The majority of my work involves travelling long distances in outback regions over a variety of road surfaces. This flexibility helps me transport the livestock to their destination safely and decreases the likelihood I will need to stop for a seven hour rest break during the trip, which can affect the welfare of the animals.”
According to the Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association, the template approval process has proven to be much faster and lower cost than other types of AFM applications. This approval also confirms the template is attractive for livestock carriers and the supporting documentation is clear enough for smaller operators to make successful applications.
“This first approval is great news for all potential applicants,” said ALRTA President, Grant Robins. “There can be no doubt that assessments made under the new template system are dramatically faster and cheaper than under the standard AFM system. It is exactly the result that industry had hoped for and I would encourage all interested operators to seriously consider this AFM option.”
According to NHVR Executive Director, Productivity and Safety, Geoff Casey, the scheme provides all the relevant tools for operators and owners to gain Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) accreditation and effectively manage their fatigue and safety concerns.
“The LTFMS allows operators to apply for AFM accreditation to work up to 14 hours on a day, as part of a fortnightly cycle with ‘risk off-setting’ restrictions around driving between midnight and 4am and more frequent stops for welfare checking.
“The scheme provides livestock transport operators with a template to manage their work and rest hours in a way which is suitable to the unique demands they face. The template approach reduces the red tape needed to gain accreditation while providing operators with fatigue management practices and policies that balances efficiency with safety.”