One of the oddities of the Fatigue Management Laws is the option of Standard Hours. The option allows drivers to work 12 hours a day providing the mandated rest breaks are taken at the appropriate times. However, operators do not have to be accredited under the NHVAS and drivers are not required to hold fatigue management training. Compared to BFM and AFM, Standard Hours represents significant savings in training and compliance along with the freedom from the auditing and all the other requirements of accreditation. Additionally, medical certificates are only required where it is a condition for a driver’s license under a particular states licensing system.
Interestingly, Standard Hours are included within the training competency TLIF2010 Apply Fatigue Management Strategies. So the question must be asked. If there is no requirement to undertake any fatigue management training, where does a Standard Hour driver gain the knowledge to adequately identify and manage their fatigue. Depending on a driver’s situation, schedule, roster and delays you can be fatigued after 12 hours, the premise of fatigue should not be initiated at 14 or more hours work time.
Whilst guidance is provided in the National Work Diary for operating under Standard Hours, there is no information relating to how to recognize, manage and apply strategies which mitigate fatigue either at home or in the workplace. Additionally, many infringements are based on knowledge and information provided in the National Work Diary, however for many drivers with literacy and numeracy challenges, hours or work and rest along with the overall correct use of the Work Diary are not well understood.
Not only does this lack of knowledge set the driver up to fail when they meet the intercept team member, but it also poses a serious threat to all other road users.
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