New heavy vehicle chain of responsibility laws highlight need for WHS software systems

Concerned about the new chain of responsibility laws, Hotham Freight Director, Adam Booth speaks about how WHS MONITOR™ helped meet its workplace health and safety responsibilities. The result was everything the company had hoped for.

Based in the Victorian town of Bright, Hotham Freight provides year-round freight services from Melbourne, Albury, Wodonga and Wangaratta to the Victorian ski resorts of Mt Hotham, Dinner Plain and Falls Creek.

“In terms of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), our main areas of concern include transport and driver fatigue, along with the possibility of musculoskeletal injuries in the warehouse.” said Adam.

As Adam was quick to point out, Hotham Freight views WHS as a top priority.

“As a rule, we carry out training (including first aid) once a year; we run pre-employment medical checks before putting anybody on; and all our store people receive expert instruction on correct lifting techniques and so forth.” he said.

Asked why the company chose WHS MONITOR™, Adam pointed to the impact of recent legislative changes.

We implemented the system in response to the national chain of responsibility law changes that were introduced in 2018.” he said.

“Frankly, I don’t think a lot of people really understand the requirements in terms of things like reporting. They don’t realise that the law now requires a three-step process, including sign off on delivery and full documentation.

According to Adam, that’s why he first considered WHS MONITOR™. It seemed to be a reliable and simple way for Hotham Freight to comply with its physical chain of responsibility obligations.

“When I started discussions with WHS MONITOR™, it didn’t take long for me to realise that my initial instinct was right. I had a lot of questions about what we do and if the system had the functionality we would require, and the answer to every one of these questions was ‘yes’,” he said. “It does everything we want it to do.”

A cloud-based system, WHS MONITOR™ comprises 120 unique, integrated modules across eight core units – Human Resources, Contractor Management, Policies & Procedures, Audits & Inspection, Compliance/Safety Self Audit, WHS Project Management, Chemical Management, Reporting, and Mobile & Digital Access.

Fully customisable, it is suitable for all businesses regardless of size or the industries in which they operate. In other words, businesses can pick and choose the modules and functionality that suit them. And, as time goes on and they grow or change, they can add (or drop) modules. Currently the modules Hotham Freight uses are Induction, SQ & E Systems, and Policies & Procedures.

“As the company’s Director, I control most of it through my desktop, then all our drivers have the mobile app and can access what they need. The team all use it on a daily basis, mainly for pre-starts. They carry out vehicle inspections in the morning, then during the day if they identify anything on their vehicles that isn’t working, they can log it immediately.” said Adam.

He said that, following the positive experience when he first approached WHS MONITOR™, the implementation of the system also went very smoothly.

“The team down there were all really helpful and were ready to assist with anything we needed. Overall, I would say that WHS MONITOR™ has provided us with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we are meeting all our legal responsibilities. Having it means we know we are doing the right thing by our employees. That’s important to me.” said Adam.

“And, on top of that, it has simplified the whole process of compliance. If I tried to do on paper what I can do with WHS MONITOR™, I reckon it would take me about two and a half days a week. Now, it only takes me two hours.”