Wednesday, December 14, 2022
ONRSR is highlighting the risk of lineside fires and detailing a range of effective controls.
As per ONRSR’s Notifiable Occurrence Reporting Requirements, lineside fires are a notifiable occurrence and occur when rolling stock sets fire to material in the rail corridor. For example, a spark from exhaust fumes or hot friction material from the brake blocks sets fire to sleepers and/or vegetation in the rail corridor.
Lineside fires can lead to major fires resulting in injuries and/or fatalities, as well as damage to property and surrounding habitat.
While not exhaustive and given the range of operational environments within the Australian rail industry, the following causes and contributing factors, and controls, detailed below should be noted.
The causes of lineside fires can be classified into organisational, technological, environmental and individual factors.
1. Organisational factors e.g.
2. Technological or equipment factors e.g.
3. Environmental factors e.g.
4. Individual factors e.g.
While not exhaustive and given the range of operational environments within the Australian rail industry, the following controls should be noted. RTOs must consider a range of factors, including the likelihood of the hazard and the degree of harm to determine what controls are reasonably practicable to implement (see the ONRSR Guideline – Meaning of duty to ensure safety so far as is reasonably practicable SFAIRP for more information).
During days of extreme fire danger or during total fire ban days eliminating the risk of lineside fires by:
Substituting rolling stock with non-rail services (such as buses) during:
Substituting higher risk rolling stock with rolling stock that presents a reduced risk e.g.:
The following engineering controls pertaining to rail infrastructure or rolling stock can reduce the risk:
Rail infrastructure controls
Rolling stock controls
The following administrative controls pertaining to preventative activities, and communications, training and procedures can reduce the risk:
Maintenance and operational controls
Communications, training and procedures
This information is provided as guidance only and may not be applicable to all rail transport operators.