COR 2015: Do it our way or not at all, Toll tells sub-contractors

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner

Toll puts sub-contractors under the microscope to ensure they meet expected standards.

COR 2015: Do it our way or not at all, Toll tells sub-contractors
Toll group manager of road transport compliance Dr Sarah Jones.


Australia’s largest transport and logistics operator has a simple message for sub-contractors looking to secure work with it: do it our way or not at all.

Toll group manager of road transport compliance Dr Sarah Jones says the company vets prospective sub-contractors to ensure they meet expected standards to operate safely and compliantly.

She has likened the approach to a "pseudo-regulatory stance" in that it aims to weed out dodgy operators in a similar vein to the truck operator licensing system that exists in the UK.

"Now what I mean by that is we are pulling some of the levers that you might traditionally associate with a regulator. For example, we have a sub-contractor management system that very consciously vets sub-contractors and very consciously says, ‘[if] you do not meet the standard that Toll expects, you do not get to play in our space’," Jones says.

"In the absence of an operator licensing system you could almost say we are pulling some of the levers that you would expect of an accreditor."

Jones made the comments at this year’s Chain of Responsibility and Heavy Vehicle Safety Conference, where she told attendees the message to sub-contractors is: "If you want a slice of the Toll pie, you have to work the Toll way."

Jones also expressed the need for strong roadside enforcement to target unsafe trucking firms and protect compliant outfits.


Toll has a blunt message for sub-contractors.

Posted by Owner Driver on Wednesday, 16 December 2015


"I know it sounds counterintuitive to have somebody from industry saying we need enforcement, but we need enforcement because without that we are in a race to the bottom with competitors who care very little for safety and are prepared to cut corners and who compromise our viability in the marketplace. We need enforcement to remain viable," Jones says.

However, she also questioned the effectiveness of current enforcement practices in light of the lack of chain of responsibility (COR) prosecutions.

"You have got ask yourself when VicRoads has one investigation ongoing in COR and has never had a successful prosecution for fatigue, how effective is the deterrence?" Jones says.

"In this context we do need to ask some serious questions around whether deterrence is currently strong enough for those operators that aspire to be safe to remain competitive."

Jones says Toll supported the creation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) due to the promise it would deliver national COR investigations and prosecutions.

It was mentioned repeatedly as an important issue for the NHVR during the establishment of the agency. However, it fell by the wayside when serious failings occurred with the heavy vehicle permit system when the NHVR launched.

The NHVR is now refocusing on COR and says it hopes a fully-functioning national framework will be in place within two years.

"The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator at the moment is trying to develop a truly national COR investigative capability," NHVR manager of COR and regulatory compliance Michael Crellin says.

"I’m kind of estimating probably 18 months to two years, but that is not to say that we won’t have that capability before then. It’s probably at the level that we really want it to be at about that time."


Next: Toll wants to be recognised as a leader on chain of responsibility


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