It is a legislative requirement of accreditation that rail transport operators (RTOs) have an appropriate safety management system (SMS) in place.

An 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. RTOs are legally obliged to implement and then comply with their SMS (RSNL s101).

The level of detail included in a SMS will be determined by the complexity of the rail operations for which it has been designed.

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.

Tourist & Heritage (smaller operators)

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.

Asset Management Guideline

Asset management is an integral element of any rail transport operator's safety management system, used to manage the risks associated with the design, use and disposal of physical assets throughout their lifecycle, ensuring assets are safe to operate and maintain. ONRSR's Asset Management Guideline provides scalable guidance for industry on how to comply with asset management obligations under the Rail Safety National Law.

In developing the guidance, ONRSR aimed to describe ‘good asset management’, focus on asset management specific to safety and align with existing definitions and standards for asset management.

The guidance complements rather than repeats guidance available to industry such as:

  • Safety Management System Guideline
  • Meaning of Duty to Ensure Safety So Far as is Reasonably Practicable.

Development of the guideline was informed by an Asset Management Industry Reference Group, involving some of Australia’s leading rail transport operators.

Using the guidance

Key features of the asset management guideline include:

  • regulatory requirements
  • what ONRSR expects
  • a ‘ready reckoner’ of the key issues that ONRSR will be seeking in an RTO’s asset management system
  • useful approaches for enhancing asset management practices.

Health & fitness

Rail transport operators must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that rail safety workers (including contractors) who perform rail safety work in relation to their rail transport operations are of sufficient health and fitness to carry out that work safely.

As part of their safety management system, accredited rail transport operators must prepare and implement a health and fitness program for rail safety workers. This program must comply with the National Transport Commission’s (NTC) National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers, which took effect on 20 January 2013.

The national standard provides practical guidance for:

  • rail operators to manage risks posed by the health and fitness of rail safety workers
  • health professionals authorised by rail operators to conduct health assessments of rail safety workers.

It is the responsibility of the rail transport operator to determine whether a health professional is qualified to conduct rail safety worker health assessments.

For a copy of the standard and supporting guidance visit the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers section of the NTC website.

Last updated: Feb 22, 2023, 10:50:34 AM