Monday, July 24, 2023
ONRSR is highlighting some of the key good practices and requirements for effective management of railway Signalling, Communications, Electrical and Control Systems (SCE&CS).
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 rail signalling and control systems – a key piece of rail infrastructure that many rail transport operators (RTOs) are required to manage 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 SCE&CS assets:
Asset details (such as an asset register) provide information about the SCE&CS which includes level crossings, signals, train detection, points equipment, power supply and distribution equipment, radios, object controllers, structures and cables.
These details can include, but are not limited to, the following:
Documenting the risks and controls demonstrates that key risks are being monitored, managed and mitigated effectively.
A non-exhaustive list of risks related to SCE&CS includes:
Each of the above risks should have controls in place to ensure safety SFAIRP of SCE&CS and those who interface with it.
A non-exhaustive list of controls includes:
Systems and procedures provide a clear and consistent approach in managing and conducting the inspection and maintenance of SCE&CS assets.
Information systems and procedures should cover includes, but is not limited to:
Standards define the criteria for how assets should be maintained.
Relevant standards that can apply include but are not limited to the following:
Undertaking regular planned inspections of assets assists in providing an understanding of their condition and what repairs or additional maintenance may be required.
Information inspections / maintenance activities can include but is not limited to the following:
Defect management is about ensuring defects or non-conformances are accurately recorded, criticality assessed, tracked, monitored and actioned from defect identification to rectification.
Information defect management can cover includes, but is not limited to, the following:
The implementation of these recommendations can have operational safety and reliability benefits such as:
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 System 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.