Thursday, July 29, 2021
ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with short warning times at level crossings caused by train overspeed or procedural breaches.
Level crossings are designed to provide the appropriate warning of an approaching train to motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. This “warning time” is defined as the time between the level crossing activating and when the train first enters the level crossing. A short warning time (SWT) is when the time between crossing activation and the first train entering the level crossing is less than the minimum designed warning time. SWTs result in motorists and pedestrians having less time to:
These incidents can result in collisions and derailments that can ultimately cause serious injuries and even fatalities. One of several factors that can cause a SWT incident are train overspeed or procedural breaches. ONRSR’s investigations have shown there are several mitigations that can minimise the risks. While not exhaustive, given the range of operational environments within the Australian rail industry, the following causes/contributing factors and controls should be noted.
Organisational factors e.g.
Technological or equipment factors e.g.
Individual factors e.g.
2. Rail Safety Worker:
Environmental factors eg:
While not an exhaustive list, ONRSR is aware of the following controls that are available and have been used in railways both in Australia and overseas. Rail Transport Operators (RTO) should note that there are safety and operational benefits and possible detriments associated with each control.
Operators 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.
The following controls are likely to eliminate the risk but this may not be reasonably practicable - see the ONRSR Guideline – Meaning of duty to ensure safety so far as is reasonably practicable SFAIRP for more information):
Rolling Stock systems
Some of the administrative and organisational controls that railways can employ to mitigate the risks associated with SWT at level crossings include the following:
Signs and notices
Training and auditing
Documentation and standards