Chain of Responsibility

Transport Compliance and Enforcement

Swan Cement is committed to creating a safer environment for our community. As such we have taken a proactive approach in assisting our transportation partners to adhere to the new chain of responsibility legislation.

The new Chain of Responsibility legislation has been designed to promote safe work practices and reasonable expectations across the entire transport industry, where every business involved in transportation of goods takes the appropriate responsibility for the way freight is transported on our roads.

The main elements of the new legislation are as follows:

  • The introduction of a ‘chain of responsibility’, where the legal liability of road traffic offences is extended to all parties who, by their actions, inactions, expectations or demands, influence the manner and conduct on our roads.
  • To adopt a national standard of enforcement that is consistent between all states and territories in an attempt to minimize the variations in individual state and territorial laws.
  • Offences involving incorrect load mass, size or restraint have been categorized into minor, substantial and severe breaches that are determined by the level of risk and associated impact on safety or infrastructure.

This means that Swan Cement, and all other companies involved with the transportation of freight on Australian roads, now has an onus to assess their responsibilities under the compliance and enforcement legislation and take all appropriate steps to ensure that no breaches occur by any party within their chain of responsibility.

Some might ask how this new legislation works. Here is a hypothetical example of what may happen if a breach is detected:

A vehicle is pulled over by an Enforcement Officer for the Department of Transport for an on the spot check. During the inspection, the officer finds a number of breaches ranging from an inadequately restrained and overweight load to the driver exceeding his prescribed driving hours.

Upon investigation the following might occur:

  • The driver is cited for the breaches and issued with the appropriate expiation notices and possibly summonsed to appear in court for more serious breaches.
  • The transportation company is also fined for the breaches and will incur further charges such as failing to provide the appropriate training to its employees to enable them to adhere to legislation.
  • The dispatching officer and company will be fined for failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that transportation drivers secure their loads correctly.
  • The forklift driver who loaded the truck will be fined for failing to ensure that the load did not exceed the vehicle’s mass limit.
  • The receiving company will be fined for placing unreasonable expectations on the dispatching and transport company to deliver the product in a realistic timeframe, which influenced the driver to exceed his allocated driving hours.

What do I need to do?

Quite simply, you should ensure that you can demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to prevent a breach occurring. Whether a breach has occurred or not, makes no difference. What is important is that you can show that you have taken reasonable steps to ensure that such breaches don’t occur. What constitutes reasonable steps will vary depending on each individual’s circumstances and positioning within the chain of responsibility.

Further reading

The National Road Transport Commission “Chain of Responsibility”

Worksafe, WA

Main Roads WA fact sheets: