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Heavy Vehicle National Legislation for Chain of Responsibility.

What is it and how does it affect my business?

In Australia, the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) laws apply to all heavy vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) or Aggregate Trailer Mass (ATM) of more than 4.5 tonnes. This means that any heavy vehicle, whether it is a truck, bus, or trailer, which exceeds this weight threshold is subject to the CoR laws.


1.       employ a heavy vehicle driver (employer)

2.       engage someone to drive a heavy vehicle under a contract for services (prime contractor)

3.       direct the control and use of a heavy vehicle (operator)

4.       schedule the transport of goods and passengers in a heavy vehicle, or schedule a driver’s work and rest hours (scheduler)

5.       consign goods for transport by a heavy vehicle (consignor)

6.       receive goods delivered by a heavy vehicle (consignee)

7.       pack or assemble goods for transport in a heavy vehicle (packer)

8.       manage premises where five or more heavy vehicles are loaded or unloaded each day (loading manager)

9.       load a heavy vehicle (loader)

10.   unload a heavy vehicle (unloader)


The Primary duty of care in the Chain of Responsibility is the obligation of not only the Owner/Employer and Director/s but of everybody in the CoR.

Drivers are NOT included as a part of the CoR unless they are undertaking one of the above roles as well. There are other important tasks that drivers must undertake for their compliance to several mandatory laws.

See the key factors of regulatory compliance for drivers and all persons in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) in my blog this week on my website


The CoR laws are part of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) and are designed to ensure that everyone in the supply chain, including truck owners, consignors, consignees, packers, loaders, and schedulers, share responsibility for preventing breaches of the road transport laws.

It also enables safe scheduling and timing of transport without speeding, and safe loading and unloading of goods or equipment to ensure safety of all who come into contact with the heavy vehicle or the load whether on the road or at pick up or put down, or in the case of a bus, safety in transit and parking also.

Key points of the CoR laws include:

  1. Mass, Dimension, and Loading: Ensuring that vehicles are not overloaded, properly loaded, and do not exceed dimension limits.

  2. Fatigue Management: Making sure that drivers do not drive while fatigued and comply with work and rest hours.

  3. Speed Compliance: Ensuring that vehicles are not driven at speeds that exceed the legal limits.

  4. Vehicle Standards: Ensuring that vehicles are maintained and operated in a roadworthy condition.

By applying these responsibilities across the supply chain, the CoR laws aim to improve road safety and ensure that heavy vehicle transport operations are conducted safely and legally.

Responsibilities of Drivers

Drivers must follow national road rules, and individual State and Territory transport rules. They must also comply with all WHS/OHS and Environmental Laws, including following reasonable instruction for their own safety, and not cause harm to others by their acts or omissions, and reporting procedures for incidents and injuries.

They must ensure that vehicle safety is maintained during driving, and check the loads periodically, and report any issues promptly. They have a duty and responsibility of:

  1. Compliance with Driving Hours and Fatigue Management: Drivers must adhere to the prescribed work and rest hours to prevent fatigue-related incidents.

  2. Adherence to Speed Limits: Drivers must comply with speed limits and ensure their vehicles are driven safely.

  3. Vehicle Condition and Maintenance: Drivers should perform regular checks to ensure the vehicle is roadworthy and report any defects or maintenance issues.

  4. Load Security: Drivers must ensure that the load is properly secured and does not exceed mass and dimension limits.

  5. Reporting: Drivers are responsible for reporting any breaches or potential breaches of road transport laws to the appropriate parties within their organization.

Shared Responsibilities:

  • Communication: Drivers must communicate with schedulers, dispatchers, and other relevant parties to ensure that delivery schedules are realistic and do not encourage speeding or excessive working hours.

  • Fit for Work: Drivers and all in the CoR must be fit for work and drug and alcohol free.

  • Documentation: Keeping accurate records of work hours, vehicle inspections and maintenance, and load details as required by the law.


Further important information

If you would like some help with CoR compliance, or other heavy vehicle and construction issues, check my calendar

or phone 0432 542 660 in business hours for assistance.



Author: Gabrielle Condon- CC Safety 19.6.2024.

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