Wednesday, August 11, 2021
ONRSR has thrown its weight behind TrackSafe’s Stand Back, Look Up, Stay Rail Safe, campaign, while also using this Rail Safety Week to highlight how its focus on a series of national rail safety priorities is helping keep Australians safe on the rail network.
Each year ONRSR conducts more than 300 formal inspections, 200 plus site visits and another 70 formal audits of rail operations around the country as part of its annual work program, but also devotes significant resources to four key safety priorities.
This strategic focus on level crossing safety, track worker safety, contractor management and control assurance plays a significant role in helping rail operators develop, maintain and enhance the safety systems that protect the general public and workers alike.
In giving her endorsement to the TrackSafe Rail Safety Week campaign, ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey said that responsibility for improving rail safety in Australia was shared, with the general public, operators, governments and regulators alike all having a role to play.
“This year’s campaign and the message it is delivering is really powerful and it’s one that all Australians should heed.”
“Addressing behaviours at those points where people interact with the network is obviously critical and it’s something that our rail safety officers around the country are constantly working on with operators.”
“A complementary focus for us has been to look at all the safety and incident data we receive each year and establish priority areas where we can work with operators to better manage risks and strengthen protections that will ultimately minimise the likelihood and severity of the interaction incidents the Rail Safety Week campaign is highlighting.”
One such initiative is the National Level Crossing Reporting Portal that ONRSR developed on behalf of the National Level Crossing Safety Committee. The new digital resource provides a range of rail safety stakeholders, including operators, with on demand level crossing safety data. The data sets will ultimately assist decision makers in government and industry to be better informed when making safety investment and planning decisions.
Elsewhere ONRSR has increased inspections to assess the legality of protection arrangements in place for track workers and workers’ overall competency for specific jobs and locations. It has also released to industry, in conjunction with RISSB, the results of a global investigation into world standard technology for protecting track workers.
In relation to the issue of contractor management, ONRSR is engaging with more than 150 rail industry contractors to educate them about their responsibilities under Rail Safety National Law. The national regulator has also developed a program of regulatory activities to examine operators’ understanding and implementation of control assurance processes – those control measures they use to manage the safety risks associated with their operations.
“I think this work complements really well the awareness efforts of TrackSafe and sends a strong message this Rail Safety Week that not only are the general public becoming increasingly aware of how to keep themselves safe around railways, but that there is a great deal of effort being made to ensure operators are being similarly vigilant and making their systems and infrastructure as safe as possible,” Sue McCarrey said.