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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2014
46 FORUM 2014 Peter Wells, Director Safety and Compliance NSW Roads and Marine Services (NSW RMS), told the Forum that safety and compliance do not have to hurt productivity. In NSW RMS’s experience, the firms doing well commercially are the ones that have greater compliance and attend better to safety. He said that Chain of Responsibility (CoR) is low prescription, but requires firms to take it up. New South Wales spends 50 per cent of the national effort on enforcement, but that matches the national portion of road freight effort, and so is not disproportionate. Wells said safety is not just speeding; it also incorporates fatigue, mass and dimension, load restraint, access restrictions and maintenance. He said that NSW RMS is hoping that more firms get to the stage where they can use the ‘reasonable steps’ defence with improved business practices, risk identification, risk assessment and risk control. There are many examples of management taking up CoR: firms checking work diaries, looking at pressure on drivers, and planning for rest breaks. Better companies tell drivers to take breaks if needed, provided that the firm is told about it. Culturally positive firms deal with safety from top to bottom, Wells said. They make sure that everyone looks after the safety of peers and friends at work so that the firm’s activities do not injure or kill people. Of 4000 CoR prosecutions, only half were of operators. Increasingly, the target is higher up the chain. Wells told the audience that peak bodies are very aware of CoR. Transporters and stevedores are also aware, but customers have low levels of awareness. RMS makes use of the process of serving notices and then getting firms to fix the problem themselves. Often, the firms are more persuasive than RMS. Wells said that the trick is to have light- touch regulation, and then to get firms to apply safety measures themselves. He said that parties in the Chain of Responsibility are interdependent. Each link must collaborate with those that handled something before, and will handle it later, to ensure that safety and compliance obligations are met. RMS is encouraged by industry’s response to CoR, even if more needs to be done. The Chain of Responsibility and Safety in the Logistics Supply Chain panel session followed Wells’s presentation. Ingilby Dickson, General Manager Supply Chain and Processing, BlueScope Steel, chaired the panel, and sought details of how various segments of the industry and the regulator were travelling. Dickson said, ‘We need to remind ourselves that we do CoR because it is the right thing to do.’ Safety Safety, and developing a culture of safety under Chain of Responsibility, should not be seen as a cost but as an investment, several speakers told the Forum. Peter Wells Brad Tully continued on page 48