Whether you are a Mass Management accredited operator or not you should be striving to maximise the capability of your fleet (return on investment) whilst ensuring continued compliance with the Road Transport and Safety laws.
On a daily basis we come across operators (large and small) who for one reason or another have not invested in formalising their approach to Mass Management. These operators, miss out on the immediate productivity and efficiency gains and ultimately become less competitive in this thriving transport and logistics market. The freight task is growing at a rapid rate and if you want to continue to be a player you need to demonstrate to your supply chain that you have the required systems in place to give them assurance that you can deliver best value for money.
Furthermore, without having such systems in place, for example knowing exactly what your payload capability is for a certain vehicle configuration, there is no way to manage the risk tolerance often leading to overloading or under loading – which can mean the risk of fines or under utilisation.
Below we’ve listed 8 steps to help compliance officers effectively audit their mass management system. And at the end of this article have included a link to our self-assessment questionnaire included in our free compliance app.
The authorities, responsibilities and duties of all positions involved in the management, operation, administration and verification of the Mass Management System must be current, clearly defined and documented.
What are the tasks and who carries them out? This is quite simple really and if all the other standards are met, this one is covered automatically. The people assigned to listed tasks must be appropriate for those tasks. It stands to reason that we must choose the most appropriate staff member for any task allocated in order to prevent error, incidents and accidents.
2. Vehicle Control
All vehicles nominated by the operator must be operated in accordance with the Mass Management System.
This means you must be able to prove that the vehicles in your Mass Management System meet the necessary mass management standards and that you will need to keep a list of all the vehicles you want to comply with standards and ensure transparency. You need to clearly detail and understand the capability of your fleet ie: Payload Capacity – GVM, Tare, GCM etc.
3. Vehicle Use
The vehicle mass must be determined by weighing or by a method of assessment prior to departure, which allows for any variation.
A loaded vehicle must be weighed before it departs and show the loading system is objective and meets set requirements before going on the road. The inclusion of “any variation” is key here and requires all conditions the vehicle may encounter to be considered in a proactive manner with foresight rather than working with hindsight.
4. Records and Documentation
Documented evidence must be maintained to demonstrate the effective operation.
In simple terms, this means that you must include procedures for weight records which must be kept for future audits. Companies also need to include procedures to ensure that all relevant staff know what their procedures are and how to access written copies of them. Knowledge is power and having all levels on board makes compliance the responsibility of everyone and not just the individual doing the auditing.
Requires you to verify your methods for assessing the weight of loads, and to show how this is done.
A written list of the methods used to load your trucks will need to be kept. This procedure needs to describe the methods to be used for each different type of load, for each different type of vehicle, in all of the circumstances that may occur. Again, by covering all angles in which you work, you are creating the highest likelihood of prevention.
6. Internal Review
Your internal procedures need to be subject to an annual internal review, to verify that all results and activities comply with the systems policies, procedures and instructions.
You should review your proposed internal procedures before they are externally audited if you are considering applying for accreditation, to meet the standards. In the case that you are already accredited, then just an annual review of your procedures is required.
7. Training and Education
Persons who hold positions of responsibility should be trained in and familiar with the specific policies, procedures and instructions they are to carry out.
Everyone involved in loading your trucks whether in management, drivers, forklift operators or any other role should understand your system’s requirements and know their own responsibilities.
8. Suspension Maintenance
Now that Mass Management is linked to Concessional Mass Limits, you will need to keep evidence for all vehicles, including trailers being hauled by accredited vehicles, that the suspension has been properly maintained, taking into account the Australian Road Transport Suppliers Association (ARTSA) Air Suspension Code. This standard covers vehicles / trailers owned and operated by a company. For hire trailers, a certificate of compliance to the Suspension Maintenance Standard should be carried in the hauling unit.
More details can be found by downloading the NHVR’s Mass Management Guidelines.