Thanks to Garry Maher from L&M Smash Repairs in Seven Hills, Sydney who sent us this article to warn the industry about a chain of responsibility you may not be aware of. 

I'd never heard of this one until a few weeks ago while tendering for some government work and  we were asked what we had in place. Some homework was done and a lot of questions asked. It all relates to Heavy Vehicle Safety (Vehicle with a 4.5T GVM) so it includes tow trucks, garbage trucks and some delivery trucks.  

Anyone involved with bookings (consigner or consignee), taking delivery, loading or operating become part of the Chain of Responsibility (CoR). Each party in the chain must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, The safety of their transport activities.  

Some common breaches of CoR obligations are: 

  • Applying business practices or demands that cause a driver to breach fatigue management requirements, or speed limits.  

  • Failing to weigh, measure or secure loads. 

  • Setting schedules with unrealistic timeframes 

  • Causing unreasonable delays in loading and unloading. 

  • Entering terms in contracts and arrangements that encourage, reward or give incentives to the driver or other parties in the CoR to breach the law. 

As example an insurer books a tow job, they now have CoR obligations. The truck arrives at the panel shop to pick up a vehicle. The panel shop now has a CoR obligation to get the driver's details, rest stop requirements and next stop detailsdirect the driver and offer any assistance required. The vehicle is loaded to the tow truck. To complete the panel shop's CoR they must carry out inspection of the truck and load, review the driver for any problems and keep record.  

In this instance a leaking brake cylinder is noted and alcohol noticed on the driver’s breath. The panel shop is obligated to carry out a Risk Assessment and offer to keep the truck secure till the problems are rectified. The panel shop cannot force the driver to stay and if assistance is refused the panel shop must record all details and advise the trucking company and Authorities.  

More information is available –  

Chain of Responsibility 

Safety Management Systems  

Garry Maher L&M Smash 


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