More training needed to lift trucking's professionalism: JKR

Registered training provider wants new requirements imposed on truck drivers, including adopting 35 hours of periodic training every five years

By Brad Gardner | August 2, 2013

Extra training requirements should be imposed on the trucking industry, according to a training organisation which suggests a scheme that forces drivers to undergo periodic tests to stay on the road.

JKR Training for Business has written to the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT) requesting it to expand the training clause in its proposed draft road safety remuneration order.

The order states an employer must provide drivers with training in workplace health and safety and the company’s drug and alcohol policy.

JKR says competencies covering chain of responsibility, manual handling, load restraint, dangerous goods, safe driving and fatigue management should also be a pre-requisite for heavy vehicle drivers.

"If we are serious about lifting the professionalism we must take driver training as a very relevant link to both safety and the industry’s profile with other users of the nation’s highways," the training firm writes.

"In Europe we have a situation where every heavy vehicle driver must hold a "Driver Certificate of Professional Competence" and complete at least 35 hours of periodic training over a 5 year period repeated ongoing. Why is this not part of the industry in Australia?"

Introduced throughout the European Union, the scheme requires drivers of vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to undergo theoretical and practical tests before gaining certification.

The five tests include hazard perception, case studies and driving ability. Based on the price of the tests in the United Kingdom, the cost of the modules in Australia would range from $25 to $195.

Drivers must complete their 35 hours of periodic training at an approved training centre. Those who do not complete the training in the specified time are not legally allowed to drive, unless they have an exemption.

"It should also be compulsory for every driver not only to be trained in the employer’s drug and alcohol policy but in all other policies the company may have in place," JKR writes.

"Drivers must accept responsibility for abiding by the procedures and policies the company has in place to make their workplace a safer place."

The RSRT issued its draft road safety remuneration order last month, proposing 14-day payment terms and paid waiting times. It finished receiving submissions yesterday and will consult the industry before deciding to issue a final order.

If introduced, the order will apply to all parties in the retail, livestock, bulk grain, interstate long distance and intrastate long distance sectors. The RSRT has proposed starting the order on October 1 and keeping it in place for four years.

It contains clauses covering dispute resolution, contracts, payment, safe driving plans and training.

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