ATA backs NHVR on fatigue management scheme

Photography by: Brad Gardner

Trucking lobby says NHVR’s approach works for livestock transporters.

ATA backs NHVR on fatigue management scheme
ATA CEO Chris Melham says the fatigue management scheme for livestock transporters provides the flexibility they need.


Australia’s peak trucking lobby group has joined the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in defending the fledgling fatigue management scheme for livestock transporters.

The Australian Trucking Association says the scheme, introduced last year, helps livestock transporters manage driver rest schedules safely under the difficult operating conditions that exist in the livestock sector.

The NHVR-developed system recently came under criticism from professor Ann Williamson, prompting the regulator to express disappointment with the fatigue expert’s comments.

It permits drivers to work up to 14 hours each day for 11 day straight, but those wanting to use the scheme must first gain advanced fatigue management (AFM) accreditation.

The NHVR introduced a template to make it easier for operators to enrol in AFM, a move the ATA supports.

"The livestock freight task can require long and relatively unpredictable freight movements in isolated areas, and must also account for the needs of the livestock being transported. This means the driver must be able to take safe, effective rest breaks at times and locations that work with their task," ATA CEO Chris Melham says.

"The NHVR’s fatigue management template for livestock transporters provides this flexibility, enabling drivers to safely manage their rest and the welfare of their livestock.

"The templates are designed to make it easier to identify fatigue risks up front, so that an operator need not present their individual safety case every single time they apply. This will cut down the cost and red-tape associated with AFM, making it more accessible for this industry sector."

Prior to the introduction of a template to guide would-be applicants, the AFM module suffered from claims it was too expensive, onerous and confusing.

"We support the use of the AFM template for livestock transporters, and look forward to seeing further templates being developed in consultation with industry in the future," Melham says.

Williamson, who believes truck drivers are forced to work too hard at the expense of their health, says the livestock fatigue scheme does not include enough measures to offset the long workdays permitted.

"I’m not very happy with the livestock one, I’m afraid," Williamson says.

Williamson says truck drivers should, in most instances, be limited to 10-hour workdays.

"Part of the point is you want to be able to have an industry where people can actually live a life that is worth living. You know, where drivers get to see their families again and things like that. For many drivers that isn’t the case. They get one day off and that is it," she says.

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