More heavy vehicle industry operators use safety management systems

Friday, 21 April, 2023 – 12:30

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of heavy vehicle operators utilise basic safety management systems in their business, according to recent National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) research.

This was a 2 per cent increase since the biennial research was last conducted in 2020, while businesses with 11 to 20 employees have the highest implementation rate (70 per cent) – though organisations of all sizes are relatively consistent with regards to safety management systems implementation.

The latest Heavy Vehicle Industry Safety report(link is external), which incorporated feedback from 5750 respondents nationwide, also found businesses that operated performance-based standards vehicles had higher rates of safety management systems implementation (70 per cent) than those that do not (64 per cent).

Basic safety management systems implementation is used to assess changes towards improvement targets in industry safety capability.

The baseline measure of basic safety management systems implementation is whether there are risk management processes in place and are operational.

Since 2020 there have been incremental improvements to safety across the industry, said NHVR chief regulatory, policy and standards officer David Hourigan.

“One area the NHVR has worked tirelessly to deliver on since 2020 is greater awareness and uptake of safety management systems and we’re encouraged to see an increase in implementation by businesses of this important safety tool.”

The research found overall scores for safety management systems are stronger since 2020, with the biggest increases in safety assurance, promotion and training, and general business items.

Scores regarding safety practices overall were also higher, particularly for the review of staff safety-related training needs.

The research also found 38 per cent of respondents are part of a heavy vehicle accreditation scheme, with most respondents in NHVAS (95 per cent), as well as WAHVA (13 per cent), TruckSafe (9 per cent) or CraneSafe (1 per cent).

In terms of heavy vehicle safety technology, antilock braking systems (87 per cent), daytime running lamps (81 per cent) and reversing safety systems (80 per cent) are best understood in the industry, while the technologies with the least understanding include autonomous braking systems (64 per cent) and side and rear underrun protection systems (65 per cent).

Furthermore, approximately one in three (35 per cent) of respondents use the NHVR safety management systems guidance materials, and of these respondents, almost all (97–99 per cent) report that they are useful.

The biennial NHVR survey measures how the heavy vehicle industry manages its safety responsibilities and seeks feedback from industry employees, drivers, managers and operators.

Previously conducted in 2018 and 2020, the NHVR uses the survey to measure targeted improvements in key areas of industry safety management.