What does ‘good’ look like for a transport operator?

In August 2023, NTA6 MinutesBy Carol McGeadySeptember 6, 2023

What ‘good’ looks like for a Kiwi transport operator is currently unclear. There is also no way to showcase companies meeting all the Health and Safety at Work Act requirements and who attract staff because of their safety cultures.

The WorkSafe Health and Safety at Work Act states that all companies must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their workers and any other workers who are influenced or directed by them.

A business must also look after other people who could be at risk of work undertaken by the company, including customers, visitors, children and young people and the public.

The NZ Trucking Association and National Road Carriers are working to bring in the new TruckSafe Accredited Safety Management System (SMS). The SMS system is a development of the original Australian TruckSafe Accreditation programme, which has been operating in Australia for 26 years. Plans are underway to launch the new system later this year in Australia, closely followed in New Zealand if the appropriate funding is secured.

Both associations believe the transport industry should take ownership of its safety. Having this system available will help companies continually improve their safety systems. The SMS platform allows them to use their existing procedures and policies, ensuring that – potentially – it’s not necessary to re-do anything. If the company meets TruckSafe standards, it will achieve TruckSafe accreditation. The independent accreditation part will prove that the systems companies have are working and will assure the supply chain that TruckSafe-accredited companies have the appropriate systems.

TruckSafe New Zealand will align with the WorkSafe Health and Safety Act and the Waka Kotahi Road to Zero strategy. It will show what ‘good’ looks like to those operators who currently have limited systems in place. A SMS is crucial for the trucking industry to ensure the highest safety standards and minimise operational risks. It provides a systematic approach to identifying, assessing and managing safety-related risks within the organisation.

Here are the key components of the new TruckSafe SMS Accreditation programme:

Safety Risk Management – the SMS identifies potential risks and hazards associated with trucking operations. It enables proactive risk assessment and management strategies to be implemented, reducing the likelihood of accidents, injuries and incidents. Through effective risk management, the organisation can protect its personnel, assets and reputation.

Safety Assurance – the SMS ensures that safety measures are continuously monitored, reviewed and improved. It involves regular safety audits, inspections and evaluations to verify the effectiveness of safety practices and identify areas for enhancement. Safety assurance activities promote a culture of ongoing improvement and accountability.

Safety Promotion – promoting safety within the organisation and to contractors and others in the supply chain is critical in creating a strong safety culture. The SMS emphasises the importance of safety training, communication and awareness programmes. It encourages employees to actively participate in safety initiatives, fostering a shared responsibility for maintaining a safe working environment.

Safety Implementation – the SMS provides a structured framework for implementing safety-related procedures, protocols and guidelines. It ensures consistent adherence to safety standards and practices throughout the organisation. By establishing clear processes and responsibilities, the SMS enables efficient and effective safety management.

Recognised Standards – accreditation demonstrates compliance with industry-recognised safety standards and best practices. It verifies that the organisation has implemented a robust and comprehensive SMS that aligns with regulatory requirements and industry expectations. The Health and Safety Act sets out specific regulations and standards to which employers must adhere. The SMS will help transport operators understand and comply with these regulations by providing a framework for organising and documenting safety procedures, policies, and controls. It ensures that the organisation’s safety practices align with legal requirements.

The TruckSafe New Zealand safety management system is crucial for the trucking industry to manage safety risks and ensure a safe working environment proactively. Accreditation further enhances the credibility and effectiveness of the SMS, providing external validation and promoting continuous improvement. By prioritising safety through a comprehensive and accredited SMS, organisations can protect their workforce, assets and reputation while gaining a competitive edge in the industry.

Talks are underway to secure funding so that a digital portal for auditing can be built and the TruckSafe New Zealand entity can be established. We are keen to hear from anyone interested in being involved in this project and are currently taking expressions of interest for participants for the working group.