The effect of fatigue on road safety is a critical issue for the road transport industry and the broader community. Self-monitoring and self-reporting are ineffective controls in reducing serious or fatal fatigue related road accidents. Technology can be used as a proactive safety tool with the capacity to reduce safety incidents.
In two recent cases, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) considered disputes arising under the applicable Enterprise Agreement (EA) and determined that the employer in each case had the right under the relevant EA to:
- Further implement anti-fatigue monitoring technology in trucks in the form of infrared driver fatigue/distraction monitoring system (Guardian technology) and inward and outward facing camera monitoring system (DVR Cameras) – Toll Transport Pty Ltd T/A Toll Shipping v Transport Workers Union of Australia  FWC 3573 (20 June 2018); and
- Install GPS tracking devices on technician employees’ mobile phones – Australian Municipal, Administrative, Clerical and Services Union v Canon Australia Pty Ltd T/A Canon  FWC 2695 (18 May 2018).
Growing technology use in the transportation supply chain
Recently, one of the Big 4 banks built a blockchain for its logistics clients to monitor a shipment of 17 tonnes of almonds from Victoria to Germany. In this experiment the almonds and their transportation path was monitored using sensors. This provided all parties in the global supply chain with full transparency of the location and condition of the almonds at any point in time and assisted the parties in the supply chain to identify and deliver efficiencies in their business.
Logistics has traditionally involved extensive paperwork but emerging technologies means more efficient and transparent supply chains will become prevalent. Operators and others in the supply chain will need to adapt to these technology advancements implemented by competitors and demanded by customers to remain competitive.
HVNL and CoR Laws
Further, with the introduction of changes to the chain of responsibility laws (coming in October 2018) to ensure all parties in the supply chain share responsibility for ensuring breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law do not occur, technology may play a part in assisting parties with compliance. Parties with legal responsibilities in the supply chain need to ensure that the implementation of technology to assist with compliance actually achieves this outcome. It will not be sufficient for a party that exercises (or has the capability of exercising) control or influence over any transport task to satisfy its legal obligations by relying on technology that is stated to achieve this objective. The user of the technology must satisfy itself that the technology in fact assists in achieving compliance.
KHQ Lawyers is an active sponsor of the Victorian Transport Association. If you would like to have a chat about your legal obligations as a party in the transportation supply chain (including safety requirements), please call us.