08 April 2019
Published by Rebecca Niumeitolu
Schedulers occupy an important and unique role in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR). While their position in businesses may not attract the same level of risk, responsibility and attention as executives under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL), their responsibilities are by no means insignificant.
Indeed, industry-wide schedulers play a significant role in influencing and managing the safety of on-road transport activities. To appropriate the colloquialism often attributed to Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, with schedulers’ ‘great power’ there comes ‘great responsibility’. This article looks at schedulers’ great power and how they can exercise it responsibly.
Schedulers are persons who:
A person will be considered a scheduler under the HVNL regardless of the formal title they hold in a business or other roles that they play in the Chain.
Scheduler’s central obligations under HVNL arise under the primary duty in section 26C, which subsumed the scheduler-specific provisions of the old HVNL.
When considering the limits of scheduler’s responsibilities under the primary duty, schedulers should ask:
It should be apparent to schedulers answering the above questions, that they have great power in effecting compliance with the HVNL and minimising public risks in relation to transport activities.
For example, say a scheduler rostered a driver to work over a period of 24 hours and to transport goods in that time for a journey that would take 14 hours, complying with speed limits. In making this decision and causing the driver to make that journey, not only would the scheduler be in breach of their primary duty, but they would also expose other CoR parties to liability under the HVNL and further risks to public safety:
The far-reaching ramifications of scheduler’s conduct on the CoR and public safety demonstrates that they should take great care when performing their functions. Transport businesses should also ensure that schedulers are properly equipped with training and resources to perform their role responsibly.
How schedulers can exercise their power responsibly
To responsibly exercise their functions in the CoR schedulers should:
Recommending that businesses review their work practices and documenting these recommendations and any steps taken to remedy non-compliance, if it is the case that there are persistent fatigue, speeding or work and rest breaches.
Author: Rebecca Niumeitolu
* A version of this article was originally published in CoR Adviser. This article is © 2019 Portner Press Pty Ltd and has been reproduced with permission of Portner Press.
Nathan Cecil, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0429
Geoff Farnsworth, Partner
T: +61 2 8083 0416
Harry Kingsley, Partner
T: +61 3 9321 9888
Suzy Cairney, Partner
T: +61 7 3135 0684
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.
Published by Rebecca Niumeitolu