Transport companies and freight forwarders are being reminded of the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), with the warning to load properly or face the consequences.
This week the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) issued a reminder to companies to take loading safety seriously, following a judgement by the South Australian Magistrates Court.
Following an investigation and prosecution by the NHVR, a national company was convicted for a mass offence under the pre-1 October Heavy Vehicle National Law and fined $9900. The maximum penalty for this type of offence is a fine of $55,000.
In sentencing the company, the Magistrate said that the maximum penalty “reflects the serious obligations cast upon prudent corporate entities, to treat those legal obligations seriously in the interests of road safety towards other road users and also their own employees and contractors”.
A spokesperson for NHVR said that the decision reinforced the importance of due diligence for all parties along the heavy vehicle supply chain, adding that companies have a responsibility to ensure good loading practices, from the top down.
In the case in question, a truck was loaded and it was accepted that at the time of loading there was not operating, calibrated scales on either the truck or the loader. The person loading the truck was guessing at it being within mass limits. The truck was subsequently detected as exceeding the statutory mass limit by 120 per cent.
The investigation by the NHVR uncovered evidence that on three occasions before the offending “checklists” had been submitted by a person loading, requesting that scales be made available for the loader. The Magistrate ruled that the overloading created an appreciable risk of harm to public safety and a serious risk of accelerated road wear.
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