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The development of new fatigue management training units by the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has been showcased by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) as an example of IRCs responding to the needs of their industry.
The AISC reported that the T&L IRC was one of the first industries to engage with government through the AISC and worked closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to develop the training units that will improve heavy vehicle driver safety.
NHVR administers one set of laws for heavy vehicles under the Heavy Vehicle National Law across Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT. The NHVR saw an opportunity to add value to fatigue training by better aligning it with the legislation and accreditation requirements.
NHVR Executive Director Productivity and Safety Geoff Casey said the Regulator’s desire to improve the long-term safety of the industry led them to the Transport and Logistics IRC, which provides advice to the AISC about the skills needs of the sector. The importance and urgency of this work was quickly recognised by the AISC who immediately commissioned the IRC to work with NHVR to update the national training package to address the serious issue of heavy vehicle operator safety.
“When someone drives a heavy vehicle while impaired by fatigue they put all road users at risk. That is why helping industry to manage driver fatigue is something the NHVR deals with on a daily basis.
“We were interested in how the current units aligned with the needs of the industry.
“Through a series of forums hosted jointly with the IRC, we gained a range of views from those in the heavy vehicle industry to understand why noncompliance existed. I think it’s vital to have different perspectives, from people involved in the day-to-day. I’m an advocate for better training because I believe it will make a difference to safety and efficiency on our roads.”
This consultation led to developing new fatigue management training units specifically aligned to the NHVR’s fatigue management accreditation requirements.
Mark McKenzie, Chair of the interim Transport and Logistics IRC, says consultation and collaboration are important.
“Meaningful and effective cooperation is crucial if we are to ensure a safe and effective transport and logistics industry continues. Through the IRC, we collaborate with a broad range of industry experts and advocates and can react swiftly as we have seen with the fatigue management case,” he said.
Mark McKenzie identifies many future challenges facing the industry, from being ready for the rise of autonomous vehicles, to adapting to changing consumer expectations. He says to meet these challenges the industry will need to “continually skill and re-skill and re-skill again.”
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