Chain of Responsibility

Clarification of Load Restraint Laws

Recent media coverage may have given the impression that the use of regular rope was being prohibited under forthcoming Chain of Responsibility legislation and that only approved webbing and certified ropes would be permitted.

This is incorrect -  there is no change to the Load Restraint Guide provisions and existing restraint methods are still acceptable providing that they meet the performance standards detailed in the guide. You must still ensure your load is correctly restrained using the appropriate restraint relevant to the transport task. 

The new Road Traffic (Vehicles) Regulations 2014 still refer to the Load Restraint Guide – Second Edition 2004  as per current regulations.

Chain of Responsibility (CoR) Overview

The introduction of ‘Chain of Responsibility’ provisions into road transport law was a milestone moment for road safety in Western Australia. Following proclamation of supporting regulations, ‘Chain of Responsibility’ legislation was introduced into WA law on 27 April 2015.

A comprehensive communications campaign was undertaken to ensure all stakeholders and industry members were informed of the changes to existing legislation and the potential impacts on their businesses leading up to implementation. 

The national model Road Transport Reform (Compliance and Enforcement) Bill introduces the concept of ‘Chain of Responsibility’, to recognise the responsibilities that others have in the transportation of goods by road, beyond that of just the driver and operator. The general objectives of the national model bill are to:

  • Improve road safety
  • Reduce infrastructure damage
  • Improve deterrence and enforcement;
  • Promote a level playing field for industry; and
  • Improve business efficiency and compliance.


There is no real change for drivers but now there are more people responsible along the 'chain'. If you are involved in any of the following 'road transport activities', you are a party in the 'chain of responsibility' and may be deemed liable in the event of a breach of the road laws:

•   Consigning – a person or company commissioning the carrying of goods
•    Packing – placing goods in packages, containers or pallets
•    Loading – placing or restraining the load of the vehicle
•    Driving – the physical act of driving a vehicle
•    Operating/Managing – operating a business which controls the use of a vehicle
•    Receiving – paying for the goods/taking possession of the load

** Scheduler – whilst not a defined role in WA legislation, there are provisions to include duties performed by a scheduler.

The law also extends to company directors, employers, unincorporated associations and partners in a managed partnership.

Put simply, it means that anyone who has control in the transport chain can be held legally accountable if by action, inaction or demand, they cause or contribute to road safety breaches. All persons within the Chain of Responsibility need to demonstrate (within their own roles):

•     They had taken all reasonable steps to prevent a breach;
•     There were no reasonable steps they could have taken to prevent the breach; and
•     There was no way they could reasonably be expected to know about the breach.

Responsible parties within the transport and logistics chain, must be satisfied their programs and compliance systems for road transport are in place and adequately meet their obligations under the law. The Chain of Responsibility legislation is contained in the Road Traffic (Administration) Act 2008 and the Road Traffic (Vehicles) Act 2012 and is accessible on the State Law Publisher's website:

Modified: 06 Sep 2017