The Definitive Guide to Mass Management

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Team Kiri Align
7th July 2021

The concept of Mass Management (in Australia) may seem a little daunting at first. The term is often used interchangeably with weight management, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. This article will help you understand what Mass Management is, how it benefits your company and why you should incorporate this into your compliance management today!

The Definitive Guide to Mass Management - Kiri Align

What is Mass Management?

Mass management in Australia refers to the process of ensuring that all loads are within an organisation’s legal weight limit. It ensures that your truck will also be safe for you and others on the road, especially in varying weather conditions. In order to perform mass management properly, you need professional scales or an accurate weight.

Defining a Mass Management System

A mass management system can be defined as a set of tools, procedures and processes used to coordinate and control the amount of loads that heavy vehicles carry in Australia. It includes all the tasks involved and those responsible for carrying them out.

What are the benefits of Mass Management?

There are significant safety and legal benefits to performing mass management correctly. The details are as follows:

Correct loading of vehicles the first time, with significant savings

Correct loading of trucks can save an organisation significant money, as they are less likely to be overweight when they leave the loading dock. Oftentimes when vehicles are not loaded properly, they can get over-weight when it leaves the loading dock, as cargo is not distributed evenly. This leads to more wear and tear on truck's tyres, which costs money in both fuel consumption and tyre replacement. Also, improper loading can cause logistics delays as trucks will not be able to leave the loading dock until they are within legal weight limits.

Given the savings that can come from correctly loading trucks, it’s essential that staff are trained on how to achieve this - usually with software or experience on-site.

Increased vehicle lifespan and lower maintenance costs

If you are a truck owner then we're sure you would love to get full value on your investment. Mass management is one of the ways to ensure the longevity of a truck's life and even lower its maintenance costs. With Mass management, we can make sure that load in a vehicle has been distributed properly so it won't be too heavy or too light for driving on the road or have issues owing to overweight load.

While the benefits of mass management are numerous, one of its most important roles is to ensure that every load in a vehicle has been distributed properly. This will help maintain truck axle and frame alignment, as well as prevent excessive wear-and-tear on axles, tyres, and brakes.

It also helps avoid potential legal liability if there is an accident or damage, caused due to overweight loads. In a nutshell, mass management ensures that the truck's axle load is not more than its maximum limit, to achieve the full value of investment without risking safety of staff and other road users.

Prevents rejection of vehicles by customers, because of overloading

One of the issues businesses operating heavy duty vehicles have is that customers would often reject vehicles because of overloading. Mass management can help you avoid this problem by ensuring that the weight of a vehicle is accurate and not subject to overloading.

Improved driver morale

With an effective mass management system, drivers are able to plan their loads more efficiently and safely. This means they get home sooner, which improves driver morale in the long term, especially as they come under the hardworking workforce category. The benefit of this to the business includes increased driver retention, reduces the chances of accidents, and higher performance.

Ensuring your vehicle is within legal weight limits for safe driving

If a load a heavy vehicle carries is too heavy, chances are the driver cannot carry on driving with ease which will affect their handling of the truck. This is also important for those operating heavy machinery or equipment, as it can cause accidents and other problems if they continue to drive with excess weight on-board.

The key reason is that when there are more products being carried than anticipated particularly during peak periods, it’s common for some people to overload their vehicle without considering the consequences.

Avoiding fines from overloading trucks or trailers

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is responsible for regulating heavy vehicles and drivers in Australia. They have a big focus on safety. If you’re over the mass limit then you can get fined, or be disqualified from operating a heavy vehicle.

The Standards of Mass Management and how you can meet them

In Australia, heavy vehicles cannot carry more than a certain amount of weight. If you want to go over this, then you need to ensure you are accredited to do so. A mass management system must therefore be in place - this is proof of commitment to keeping safe practices.

These are the eight Mass Management Standards that need to be met to be a compliant operator:

  1. Responsibility

All positions involved in the Mass Management System must be properly identified, their duties outlined, and records of their participation maintained. When assigning tasks, it must be to appropriate individuals that are qualified to complete such tasks. For example: the driver of a forklift is responsible for recording the weights of pallets, the calibration of scales by the workshop manager, a truck driver ensures that a vehicle’s axle weights are correct by checking the weighbridge’s digital display etc.

  1. Vehicle control

This standard aims to ensure that the vehicles nominated in a Mass Management System are up to Mass management standards. Therefore, your system should have a working method for keeping the records of vehicles together with all their details. Furthermore, it is vital you have proof that each vehicle has the manufacturer’s rating to carry the mass allowed. 

  1. Vehicle use

When you load a vehicle, you have to make sure it isn’t overloaded. Before a vehicle is allowed to go on the road, you are duty bound to show that the axle and gross vehicle weight is within the approved limits. You can record weights using the weighbridge, on-board scales, air pressure gauges or rely on the documentation from a customer.

  1. Records and documentation

A Mass Management System should have a procedure that ensures records of weights are produced for each trip involving an axle or gross mass above GML, and that those records are kept for audits.

  1. Verification

Your system should specify how and when axle weights are to be checked. The vehicle operator is accountable for verifying and recording the total weight of the vehicle and any load before operating on city streets.

  1. Internal review

The Mass Management System must be reviewed on a quarterly and annual basis to ensure that all results and activities remain in line with the objectives of the system.

  1. Training and education

The implementation of Mass Management Systems requires collaboration between all parties concerned such as drivers, machine operators and weighbridge clerks. The systems must be supported by suitable internal training programs to ensure that all staff are familiar and competent with their tasks.

  1. Maintenance of suspension

To comply with this standard, you must keep evidence and documentation that shows that the suspension of all the vehicles have been appropriately maintained per manufacturers’ recommendations, the Air Suspension Code of Practice (ARTSA) or the National Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual (NHVIM).

Mass management Accreditation 

The documents that are required

Documentation is an essential component of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation (NHVAS) scheme. It represents your Mass Management System and has the power to demonstrate that you can safely move vehicles from point A to B in all road and weather conditions. Documentation is also important for all audits, be it external or internal. To meet Mass Management standards, your system should ensure that documentation can be stored for at least 3 years.

Also, remember to  regularly update your mass management manual - this is a lifelong process so long you are part of the scheme.

Following are documents that you should keep (referenced from NHVAS Mass Management Accreditation Guide):

The Audit process

A mass management audit ensures that your business’s Mass Management System is up to date and compliant with relevant standards. To be deemed accredited, you must successfully complete an audit of your company by an NHVR registered, NHVAS-approved auditor who will verify that your procedures and practices meet the mass management standards. Software platforms like Kiri Align help with digital management of safety, compliance and mass management.

After accreditation, there are scheduled compliance audits - these are carried out at specified intervals and must be completed to maintain accreditation and ensure you are still meeting compliance. The auditing process can be strict. However if you have a mass management compliance system, it would be easier to conduct an internal review post which an external audit becomes easy - and there is a higher chance of getting accreditation.

Published by: Kiri Align