Safe railways for Australia

Notices


There are four different types of notices that may be served under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL):

  • Improvement notices
  • Prohibition notices
  • Non-disturbance notices
  • Infringement notices.

Improvement notices

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) can serve an improvement notice on a person (which includes an organisation) who the ONRSR reasonably believes:

  • is contravening a provision of the RSNL, or
  • has contravened a provision of the RSNL in circumstances that make it likely that the contravention will continue or be repeated, or is carrying out or has carried out railway or other operations that threaten safety.

An improvement notice will be issued in writing and will set a time within which the action needs to be taken.  The ONRSR may decide to extend this time if it is satisfied that the operator is taking reasonable steps to comply with the notice.

The issuing of an improvement notice is a reviewable decision under s215 of the RSNL.

Prohibition notices

The ONRSR may issue a prohibition notice when it is reasonable to believe that there is an immediate risk to safety. A prohibition notice requires the immediate cessation of the relevant activity until the matters that give rise to the risk to safety are remedied. This notice is a tool to achieve short term, localised action in relation to a specific activity.  A prohibition notice may be issued orally but must be confirmed by written notice as soon as practicable.

Non-disturbance notices

The ONRSR can issue a non-disturbance notice if the ONRSR reasonably believes it is necessary to facilitate the exercise of powers under the RSNL.  The ONRSR will serve the notice on the person (which includes an organisation) with control or management of railway premises.

A non-disturbance notice can require a person to:

  • preserve a site (including any rail infrastructure, rolling stock, substance or thing associated with the site) where a notifiable occurrence has occurred, for a specified period, or
  • prevent the disturbance of a particular site (including any plant or rolling stock, substance, structure or thing associated with the site, and the operation of plant) in other circumstances for a specified period which is reasonable in the circumstances.

There are some things that can be done even if a non-disturbance notice has been served.  It is possible to:

  • help an injured person
  • remove a deceased person
  • make the site safe to prevent a further incident
  • carry out activities associated with a police investigation.
  • If an operator doesn’t comply with the notice within the set time, penalties may apply.

A non-disturbance notice will be issued in writing and it will apply for a period of 7 days or less.  The ONRSR can issue one or more subsequent non-disturbance notices either before or after the end of the period in the previous notice.

Infringement notice

Under s233 of the RSNL the ONRSR can issue an infringement notice if it has a reason to believe that a rail transport operator has breached an infringement penalty provision of the RSNL.

Related documents

Last updated: 22 July 2016