Safe railways for Australia

Safety management systems

A safety management system (SMS) is a rail transport operator’s primary means for identifying hazards, recording the risks to safety it has identified within its operations and detailing how those risks are managed and monitored.

It is a legislative requirement of accreditation that rail transport operators (RTOs) have an appropriate SMS in place. RTOs are legally obliged to implement and then comply with their SMS (RSNL s101).

The level of detail included in an SMS will be determined by the complexity of the rail operations for which it has been designed. Smaller less-complex operators and Tourist & Heritage operators should ensure that their SMS is consistent with their specific operations.   A suite of SMS Modules, together with a number of example tools and templates have been developed to assist with this.

Safety management is an ongoing process. It is an essential requirement of receiving and maintaining accreditation with ONRSR.

There are five parts to effective rail safety management:

  • identification of all the hazards and risks to safety;
  • planning of actions to eliminate or reduce the risks;
  • competent people to implement controls and defences;
  • regular monitoring of both the risks and effectiveness of the controlling actions; and
  • identification and management of changes to the operational risk profile.

Related documents

Last updated: 6 May 2020