Tuesday, June 27, 2023
ONRSR is highlighting some of the key good practices and requirements for effective management of freight and passenger rolling stock.
ONRSR conducts regulatory activities, including audits, inspections, and site visits, across multiple operators and sectors. In conducting these regulatory activities, ONRSR often observes and identifies both good and poor safety practices.
In this safety message, ONRSR highlights some of the good practices for maintaining rolling stock. Rolling stock is what many Rail Transport operators (RTOs) are required to manage and maintain safely, so far as is reasonably practicable - as per the Rail Safety National Law.
While not exhaustive and given the range of operational environments within the Australian rail industry, the following should be noted.
RTOs must consider a range of factors, including the likelihood of the hazard and the degree of harm to determine what management practices are reasonably practicable to implement.
Refer to the ONRSR Guideline – Meaning of duty to ensure safety so far as is reasonably practicable SFAIRP for more information).
The following is a non-exhaustive list of key aspects and information a good safety management system should contain regarding effective maintenance of rolling stock.
For simplicity, the key details have been split across six key areas:
The foundation for effective and safe management of rolling stock assets is accurate and up to date details about the rolling stock asset itself. Information that asset details can cover includes but is not limited to:
ONRSR recognises that in some cases asset details may not be available due to the age of rolling stock or changes in ownership. RTOs must conduct risk assessments in such cases. RTOs should ensure that wherever possible asset details are not ‘lost to history’.
Documenting the risks and controls for rolling stock demonstrates that key risks are being monitored and managed effectively. The critical safety risks relating to rolling stock include:
Each of these risks should have controls in place to ensure the rolling stock is safe for workers and passengers so far as is reasonably practicable. While controls will be different depending on the type of rolling stock and the network it operates on, controls generally fall into one of the following categories:
Standards can define the criteria that rolling stock is maintained to, the interfaces to allow safe operation on a given network or alternatively the process for developing an effective maintenance regime. Typically operators would adopt industry standards or develop their own internal standards when necessary.
Procedures underpin the overall process for maintaining rolling stock. Information that procedures can cover includes, but is not limited to:
Planned or scheduled inspections are important as they provide the opportunity to perform preventative maintenance to reduce the likelihood of a defect that has an impact on safety.
Defect rectification management is about ensuring defects or rolling stock faults are accurately recorded, criticality assessed, tracked, monitored and actioned, ensuring traceability from detection to rectification. Information that defect rectification and management can cover includes, but is not limited to:
Following this advice will have additional benefits as well as improved operational safety including:
As a result of this safety message, operators may benefit from reviewing their SMS. The following list includes, but is not limited to, those systems and procedures likely to be most relevant for review:
Please see ONRSR Guideline - Safety Management System Guideline for more information.
The Safety Management Guideline provides accredited rail transport operators, and those seeking accreditation, with guidance on the legislative requirements for safety management systems and what the National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR) looks for when assessing safety management systems, and how to prepare a safety management system that complies with the legislative requirements.
All RTOs managing railway track may benefit from reviewing this guideline.