The prospect of a genuine fatigue management scheme to help rural trucking operators is finally, on the horizon. The Livestock and Rural Transporters’ Fatigue Management Scheme (LRTFMS) will enable livestock and other rural transporters to get their transport task completed, in difficult conditions and within animal welfare considerations.
When the new fatigue laws were first introduced, a long process, to get an AFM template developed to help livestockers get animals transported over some of the long legs needed, failed. It proved impossible to get the required fatigue experts to sign up to any scheme running more flexible hours limitations.
Since then, the livestock industry has been looking for a long term solution. Some livestock operators have developed their own AFM accredited schemes, but many have struggled to comply with both fatigue and animal welfare rules.
The new scheme has been developed by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator to answer many of the issues involved. The LRTFMS is due to start implementation by the end of 2014 when operators will begin to gain accreditation from the NHVR into the new scheme.
At the heart of the new system is the allowance for 14 day rosters, specifically, for rural and livestock operations. This will mean operators will be able to roster a driver on for up to 12 consecutive days. Conditions include, finishing before midnight every day and increasing the number of short breaks taken.
The next stage is planned to introduce a system to allow long single runs from far inland to delivery points like ports for live cattle export. Drivers will be able to work one long day and one short day, with the proviso of a recovery day’s rest to be taken immediately afterwards. This allowance will be for occasional use, as and when required.
The scheme is also examining the introduction of the concept of a rural time bank to build in the flexibility required for rural operators over long distances. The NHVR reckon the new scheme is compatible with existing fatigue rules governing other parts of the industry and point out there will be a stronger emphasis on record keeping and auditing for those who choose to enter the scheme.
Currently, the NHVR are looking for rural operators to declare an expression of interest if they are interested in the fortnightly cycle scheme or be part of consultation in developing the other two aspects of the planned scheme. For more detail go to the NHVR website for email details, or a postal form.