Thursday, October 26, 2023
The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has welcomed a decision in the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court to fine a train driver for failing to attend a post-incident interview.
The court imposed the $5,000 fine after the driver ignored a legally binding direction from the national regulator to be interviewed after the freight train he was driving was involved in a collision at Oonoomurra in north-western Queensland in August 2022.
ONRSR had only issued the legal notice, under section 20 of Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), after the driver initially declined a request to attend an interview voluntarily.
In handing down his decision, Magistrate Joseph Pinder was concerned about the blatant nature of the driver’s refusal to co-operate and his ignorance toward the content of the notice issued.
Despite a guilty plea Magistrate Pinder considered the $5,000 fine to be reasonable in the circumstances and to send a strong message that ONRSR is a serious organisation undertaking important work and that the provisions in the RSNL are there to be complied with and not blatantly ignored.
ONRSR’s Acting Chief Executive, Peter Doggett said the regulator was pleased with the outcome of the matter and called on all rail transport operators and rail safety workers to understand their legal obligations in the name of rail safety.
“We don’t issue these notices lightly, but when we do, they are designed to ensure we can establish the full facts of an incident and hopefully take steps to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again,” Mr Doggett said.
“If we get the co-operation we need from operators and workers alike we can improve rail safety outcomes and that’s something everyone in the rail industry should be seeking.”
For further information regarding ONRSR’s enforcement of RSNL see The ONRSR Way which can be accessed via the ONRSR website.