Electronic Work Diary: What You Need to Know

Discover how electronic work diaries (EWDs) transform transport fatigue management. Learn about their benefits and functionalities and guide them for implementation and compliance.

A driver clocking in for work using an electronic work diary

What is an Electronic Work Diary?

An Electronic Work Diary (EWD) is a digital tool approved by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for drivers, operators, record keepers, or authorized officials in the transport industry to log their work and rest hours. This modern solution replaces traditional paper-based diaries, enabling entries via electronic devices such as tablets or smartphones.

Drivers can swap between using an EWD and a Written Work Diary (WWD) as required but must carry both types of records with them.

Benefits of Using EWDs

Electronic work diaries offer various operational and compliance benefits for businesses and their workforce. Here are the top reasons to use these digital tools:

Compliance with NHVR Regulations

Drivers, transport operators, and record keepers have the same obligations when using EWDs as they do with WWDs. EWDs must be approved by NHVR from EWD register providers. If approved EWDs are used correctly, they meet all the requirements for compliance.

Furthermore, during a compliance audit, a transport company can provide accurate, unaltered records from their EWD system. The precise data helps demonstrate compliance with fatigue management regulations, avoiding potential fines and penalties.

Enhanced Accuracy and Reliability of Records 

EWDs automatically record information, reducing any errors caused by handwritten logs. The electronic format also allows easy auditing and record verification, saving drivers and operators time and effort.

Easy Access and Structure

EWDs store data electronically, making it easier to access and manage records. This feature is handy during audits or when submitting work diaries for verification. Drivers can also easily track their logbook history, making it easier to plan and stay compliant with NHVR regulations.

Operational Efficiency and Cost Savings

The automated process of EWDs reduces the administrative burden on drivers and operators. Whenever changes are made to their schedules, the EWDs automatically update without any manual input. This enhances overall operational efficiency for better fleet management and resource allocation.

Better Fatigue Management

An EWD aims to improve the efficiency of fatigue management for drivers and transport operators. It tracks rest periods accurately to help manage driver fatigue effectively. For example, EWDs automatically record deviations from drivers’ work and rest schedules, ensuring compliance with the National Heavy Vehicle Laws (HVNL).

Aside from this, EWDs also help drivers and operators with the following:

  • Prevent overwork – EWDs provide a clear overview of drivers’ work and rest hours. When drivers exceed their maximum work hours, the EWD will alert them to take a break to ensure they remain within legal limits.
  • Make informed operational adjustments – EWDs provide data on driver schedules, routes, and breaks, which can be analyzed to identify fatigue risks. This information allows transport operators to adjust work schedules, breaks, and routes to improve driver safety and well-being.
  • Integrate with monitoring systems – Some EWDs can integrate with sensors and telematics platforms to monitor driver behavior and performance. You can cross-reference your EWDs with monitoring sensors for real-time vehicle location and movement tracking, providing valuable data on driving patterns, distances traveled, and stop durations.

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In its basic form, an electronic work diary should have the following features:

Automatic Data Entry

In written work diaries, drivers manually record their activities, such as starting and finishing work, rest breaks, and driving time. This process can be error-prone and may lead to non-compliance with NHVR regulations.

With EWDs, data is recorded and stored electronically, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring accuracy in work-hour entries.

Real-time Alerts and Notifications

EWDs also have built-in systems that alert drivers when they are approaching their maximum work hours or need a break before continuing their journey. These automatic notifications help prevent fatigue-related accidents by promoting safe driving practices.

Integration with Other Systems

EWDs can connect to fleet management systems, GPS tracking devices, and telematics platforms, enabling real-time data synchronization across all channels. This integration allows for comprehensive monitoring of driver performance, vehicle usage, and compliance with regulatory requirements.

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NHVR Regulations for EWDs

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is Australia’s independent statutory authority regulating heavy vehicle safety and compliance under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The NHVR oversees all heavy vehicles with a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of over 4.5 tons and aims to improve road safety, reduce regulatory burden, and promote a safer, more productive heavy vehicle industry.

Key responsibilities of the NHVR for EWDs include:

  1. Approve and certify electronic work diaries (EWDs) to monitor compliance with work and rest hour rules. The NHVR maintains a register of approved EWD providers from which transport operators can choose.
  2. Enforce the Fatigue Management Laws to prevent accidents caused by fatigue and promote safe driving habits. These laws include the National Heavy Vehicle Fatigue Management Scheme (NHVFMS), a framework to manage driver fatigue within the heavy vehicle industry. It includes work and rest requirements, accreditation programs like Basic Fatigue Management (BFM), Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM), and EWDs.
  3. Develop and maintain the EWD standards to ensure that EWDs are reliable, secure, and meet the requirements set by the NHVR.

How to Implement Electronic Work Diaries in Your Organization

Electronic work diaries are key to enhancing regulatory compliance, productivity, and driver safety. Follow these steps to successfully implement this system in your business:

Understand the Regulatory Requirements

Ensure you understand the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) requirements regarding fatigue management and using EWDs. Review the NHVR standards for EWDs to ensure any system you adopt meets these criteria.

Choose an Approved EWD Provider

Identify and evaluate providers that offer NHVR-approved EWD systems. Look for features that best meet your organization’s needs, such as real-time tracking, ease of use, integration capabilities, and customer support.

Train Your Staff

Provide thorough training for all drivers, fleet managers, and relevant staff on how to use the EWD system. This training should cover record-keeping requirements, proper system use, and handling potential technical issues.

Integrate EWDs with Existing or New Systems

Ensure the EWDs integrate seamlessly with your existing management systems, such as GPS tracking, telematics platforms, and sensors. Set up protocols for data collection, storage, and analysis to maximize the information provided by EWDs.

Monitor and Review

Conduct regular audits of EWD data to ensure compliance with fatigue management laws and identify areas for improvement. Establish a feedback loop with drivers and fleet managers to improve the system’s effectiveness and continuously address any concerns.

Loida Bauto
Article by

Loida Bauto

SafetyCulture Content Contributor
Loida Bauto is a freelance content contributor for SafetyCulture and a self-published book author. She has written various articles about workplace safety, human disabilities, universal design, and sustainability. Her written works reflect her strong passion for quality, workplace incident prevention, and efficiency to empower businesses to improve their operations.