Safe railways for Australia

Enforceable Voluntary Undertakings


Enforceable Voluntary Undertakings (EVUs) are formal written undertakings from a person in relation to a contravention or alleged contravention of the law.

An EVU gives the rail transport operator an opportunity to resolve the issues in a time, manner and format that is agreed. They are completely voluntary and must be initiated by the rail transport operator.

ONRSR is allowed to accept EVUs under Section 251 of the Rail Safety National Law.

An EVU may contain a broad range of immediate actions and other commitments on the part of the person, including, for example:

  • stopping the activity until certain agreed actions have been undertaken (such as implementing a new process)
  • the provision of training for managers and staff
  • completion of regular audits (including independent audits)
  • compliance plans
  • management plans for work systems.

They should include processes for reporting to the ONRSR on compliance with the EVU.

Ultimately the EVU must address the issues in a way that corrects the breach and prevents the breach occurring again.

Entering into an EVU reflects a high level and binding commitment to correct the matter that, if accepted, becomes a legally binding document. As it may offer an alternative to enforcement actions, such as prosecution or suspension, an EVU will not be accepted lightly. For these reasons they will only be considered by the ONRSR where proposed by the person accountable for the organisation (the ‘Accountable Person’ is normally the Chief Executive or Managing Director).

Importantly a rail safety undertaking cannot be accepted by a Rail Safety Officer. They also cannot be accepted for contravention, or alleged contravention, of the RSNL which is a Category 1 offence, as defined in section 58 of the RSNL (this is a failure to comply with safety duty – reckless conduct).

A person thinking about proposing a rail safety undertaking should contact the Head of Compliance Investigation via operations@onrsr.com.au.

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