News, Practice

Alternative Fatigue Management System

Tired of fatigue management laws?  An alternative fatigue management system could be for you!

The work and rest time requirements imposed on transport operators in New Zealand have long been a source of frustration within the industry.  What many transport operators do not realise, however, is that deep within the Land Transport Act 1998 is a scheme that allows transport operators to vary these work and rest time restrictions.  The scheme is known as the alternative fatigue management scheme, or AFMS.  

The AFMS allows commercial transport operators greater flexibility in their operations. The scheme involves operators designing and managing their own systems and processes for work and rest times.  If approved by Waka Kotahi, this scheme may be adopted by the operator in place of the standard work and rest time obligations imposed by law.  

There are two principal types of AFMS. The first type permits an operator to vary the work and rest times their drivers can work from those prescribed in law, provided that the total hours worked by their drivers in a cumulative work day do not exceed 13 and the total hours worked in any cumulative work period do not exceed 70. 

The second type is a fuller scheme which allows drivers to work in excess of 13 hours in a work day – but still no more than 70 in a cumulative work period – under closely monitored conditions. These conditions can include the application of counter measures that reduce the possibility of the onset of driver fatigue. 

An AFMS can provide a number of benefits.  Operators are able to take a more proactive approach to workplace fatigue management, which assists towards compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992.  It can also provide business efficiencies, such as improving the utilisation of vehicles, plant and staff.  Feedback from one AFMS operator is that drivers get better sleep, balance their lifestyle and perform tasks more efficiently.

The process for having an AFMS approved by Waka Kotahi, however, can be challenging.  It involves the completion of a Registration of Interest Form in the first instance, the purpose of which is to enable Waka Kotahi to understand your business and why you wish to operate under an AFMS.  Waka Kotahi can either accept or decline your Registration of Interest.  If Waka Kotahi accepts the Registration of Interest, a formal application is then required, which must include a robust hazard analysis and documentation demonstrating how fatigue will be managed.

If you are interested in becoming approved for an AFMS and want further advice, or if you have a different legal question, give the team at Fortune Manning a call on 0800 4FM LAW (0800 436 529).