What’s a Chain of Responsibility Policy & why you need one

chain of responsibility policy corcomply

Have you been asked for a Chain of Responsibility (CoR) Policy?  It is a common request when seeking to confirm that a transport business is compliant with Chain of Responsibility obligations, but what is a CoR Policy and why do you need one? Transport Operators need a Chain of Responsibility Policy because it demonstrates to supply chain partners, customers and regulators that you’re proactive and take the safety of your road transport activities seriously.

Just like a Work Health and Safety Policy, a CoR Policy will consist of an overarching statement of intent to comply with CoR laws and commitment to minimising risks arising from your transport operations, as far as reasonably practicable. The objective being to prevent harm to people and infrastructure.

Next comes what actions you will take to achieve this. The Heavy Vehicle National Law requires transport operators to identify and control risks with transport operations, including not influencing a driver to speed, carry an overweight or over-dimensional load, travel in an unroadworthy/unsafe vehicle or drive while fatigued. So these would typically be mentioned in your policy. Other actions may be to encourage reporting of CoR breaches and engage with supply chain partners to work collectively to manage transport risks and improve safety for all.

Everything you say in your Policy should be part of your everyday business operations. For each of your actions, you will need processes and records. For example, if you state in your Policy that drivers will be licenced, competent and fit for work – how will you demonstrate this? This could include:

  • Sourcing driver history reports issued by the Regulator to monitor licence and demerit point status.
  • Having a drug and alcohol policy and testing program
  • A daily fitness for work declaration for drivers
  • Training for drivers and operations in recognising and responding to fitness for work issues

To monitor compliance with your Chain of Responsibility Policy, you will be gathering and reviewing data which will help guide your decisions. If, through monitoring fatigue, you become aware of fatigue management breaches in relation to a particular route, client or driver, you can use this information to make changes.

If you don’t have a Chain of Responsibility Policy, think about all the actions you have in place to manage transport risks and compliance and document these and there’s your Policy. Alternatively, you can start with a Policy template and this can structure your compliance program. Either way, next time you are asked if you have a Chain of Responsibility Compliance Policy, you will be able to confidently answer, Yes, I do.

Take the time and effort out of CoR compliance documentation with CoR Comply and know you have exactly what you need with CoR Comply. Our CoR Policy is part of the Governance Package.


OHS Body of Knowledge

In February 2014, I was fortunate to be invited to participate in a focus group for the development of a new chapter in the OHS Body of Knowledge on Organisational Culture. For non-OHS people, the Body of Knowledge consists of 43 chapters covering OHS concepts, theories and evidence and is used as the basis for accreditation and education programs.

The focus group was conducted by Dr David Borys, safety educator, researcher and consultant who was my lecturer at Ballarat University when I completed a Graduate Diploma in Occupational Hazard Management. David has published some 25 research papers and is recognised globally as a leading OHS researcher and thought leader.

After the workshop, I was invited to be the contributing author to the Body of Knowledge chapter on Organisational Culture as it related to small/medium business. My colleague Rod Maule, who had also studied at Ballarat Uni was selected as the contributing author as a general reflection on the chapter and its application for the OHS professional in practice. If anyone reading this knows Rod, you will know it was quite an honour to be considered alongside him as a worthy contributor.

How is this story related to the CoR Master Code?

On page 12 of the Master Code, the Organisational Culture chapter of the Body of Knowledge is referenced in providing the definition of culture as ‘the way we do things around here’. I instinctively use this knowledge when I’m working a with business and consider how they ‘do things’ and this is the lever to get them to ‘do new things’ too. The new things now are generally systems and practices to comply with the CoR reforms.

It’s rewarding to have my safety systems and culture background officially unite with the new CoR world.

NHVAS Registered Auditor

As of today, I’m an NHVAS Registered Auditor. It’s not an easy qualification to gain. It involved: 2 days of technical competency training at the NHVR Exemplar Global Auditing qualifications, (which I was lucky to already have as a safety auditor). Online tests A skills audit – conducting an audit while being assessed by a Skills Auditor. Then a submission to the NHVR for approval. Glad I finally got there! It’s been great to learn so much and be able to provide the best, most qualified advice and support I can to clients navigating the complex and ever-changing CoR space.