Subcontractors; the role and obligations to the transport industry and the CoR

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Subcontractors play an important role in the transport industry. Over 79% of all freight carriers use sub-contractors in their fleets.1

The government, jurisdictions and enforcement place a heavy emphasis on the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), compliance and safety within the industry.

Where does the subcontractor fit within the CoR and the industry?

100% of all large transport operators use subcontractors in some capacity1. With this in mind, Work Safe Australia has hit the road and spread the word throughout conferences in 2014 with a message. Subcontractors and their obligations to the CoR are a transport operator’s responsibility. Operators can no longer afford to overlook their subcontractors.

What does this mean?

It means that if an operator hires a subcontractor to complete a job in any capacity, they are liable for the subcontractor. It must be ensured that any given subcontractor is and remains compliant to all applicable fatigue, speed, mass and vehicle regulations, laws and legislation.

Here’s a scenario to think about.

You are ACME Corp, a freight carrier based in Melbourne. A booking customer has a job for you to deliver containers of perishable goods to their distribution centre in Brisbane. ACME Corp only has the capacity to carry freight between Melbourne and Sydney so a subcontractor is hired to continue the journey to Brisbane.

Where do your responsibilities lie if an accident happens during the subcontractor’s leg of the job?

If an accident occurs at any point of this scenario, authorities will investigate backwards to find where the faults occurred in the transport chain. Fatigue will be checked, processes and policies on speed monitoring will be requested; this is just the beginning of your worries.

Enforcement will and can check right through to how the job was booked.


The obligations can vary depending on the operation: from the freight task to the subcontractor’s role in the job and the transportation requirements.

It’s extremely important for an operator to ensure that everyone in the transport chain is responsible for his or her duty to the CoR from the warehouse arranging the load, the delivery of the freight and even the on-forwarding. Each step of the journey must be checked to ensure for safety and compliance.

Accidents happen although they can be avoided, often from implementing and following simple policies. Procedures for staff to ensure a subcontractor’s fatigue hours can allow for the job, maintenance records are up-to-date and the vehicle is checked for road-worthiness. These are some examples of simple practices that can help ensure a safe journey.

Policies and procedures must be developed and introduced to staff and drivers. They provide sufficient methods to satisfy and be deemed to have taken ‘Reasonable Steps’ to ensure the operator and subcontractor’s role in the transport supply chain are compliant with Australian law. Regular audits of policies and procedures should be conducted to satisfy requirements.

This is often considered difficult, yet technology can provide a simple answer with an effective and efficient method for managing subcontractors. The benefits technology provides to an operation are measurable. From business and operational efficiencies through to safety and automation, the list is extensive. For more information, visit: ‘The not so obvious reasons why transport operators should care about compliance‘.

Transtech offers a simple and cost effective solution to help transport operators manage sub-contractors. The Pay as you Go (PAYG) Compliance Pack is a cloud-based technology that offers a revolutionary compliance management system that is affordable for owner-drivers through to multi-fleet national operators.

The technology and the applications included in the PAYG Compliance Pack can help manage subcontractors and their obligations to the CoR, beyond ensuring policies are in place.

Each pack includes an iFace, an in-cabin screen for drivers delivering powerful applications at their fingertips, along with NextGen, a compliance and reporting cloud-based portal.

This proves to be a powerful combination, allowing for real-time feedback on the actions of sub-contractors. Operators gain the ability to:

  • See a subcontractor’s fatigue at any point of the journey, calculated in real-time against fatigue laws to ensure the driver remains compliant through each leg of the job.
  • Obtain real-time mass information for each axle-group, configurable to any vehicle combination.
  • Receive the results of a configurable pre-trip checklist instantly to ensure the vehicle and trailer being driven are up to standard and road-legal.
  • Display speed information directly to the driver’s view allowing for safe driving practices whilst on the road.
iface_sentinel iface_mass iface_pretrip iface_speed

Sentinel EWD

Mass Manager

Pre-Trip Checklist


Fatigue Management

Mass Compliance

Vehicle Maintenance

Speed Compliance

Sentinel is a tried and proven Electronic Work Diary (EWD) utilised by some of Australia’s most progressive transport and logistics operators. It ensures a transport operator and its drivers are in the position to comply with all fatigue laws and rule sets implemented across Australia.

Mass Manager provides drivers with the ability to record axle group mass and vehicle configuration directly on the iFace as required under NHVAS regulations.

Pre-Trip Checklist is a tool that allows the operating driver or depot staff to go through a pre-defined checklist of vehicle, trailer and/or driver safety in order to start their journey under the NHVAS rules.

SpeedAssist is a driver tool that assists in maintaining safe driving practices across all operating fleets. The simple and powerful application provides audio and visual alerts to inform drivers of speeding and enables them to take preventative measures.

Find out more! Find out more! Find out more! Find out more!

Technology empowers subcontractors to manage their own obligations to the CoR and provides assurance of compliance to laws and regulations. The PAYG Compliance Pack is a solution open to provide this assurance to both subcontractors as well as an operator’s roster of drivers.

Transtech is focused on adapting technologies and applications to meet operator needs. It’s a solution provider that has played an integral role in the Electronic Work Diary (EWD) trials, being a part of the EWD pilot to date. The PAYG Compliance Pack provides an all-encompassing and revolutionary system for transport and logistics companies via a cost-effective device combination with regulatory-centric applications. Simply add more applications as they are required, such as vehicle tracking, navigation, demurrage & job tracking, messaging and more.

For more information, contact Transtech’s professional customer service team on 1300 427 123 or via email at


Feature Story from the Road

M&A Taylor; A subcontractor’s journey to compliance

M&A Taylor Transport Services P/L is an owner-driver based company from Altona, Victoria. Mark Taylor subcontracts to a number of local transport operators in the area, carting freight throughout the state and into New South Wales.

Read more!

1 MFAC/VTA Report on Findings of Transport and Logistics Technology Survey 2014