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  • Home

    Everything we do, every day has to be for the outcome of rail safety, that is absolutely paramount.

  • About Us

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is an independent body corporate established under the Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Act 2012 - with its primary objectives being to encourage and enforce safe railway operations and promote and improve national rail safety.

  • Who we are

    ONRSR is an independent body corporate established under the Rail Safety National Law (South Australia) Act 2012 .

  • ONRSR's National Priorities

    A national priority is defined as a rail safety area of regulatory focus that applies to multiple jurisdictions and operators and warrants a sustained period of regulatory attention.

  • What we do

    ONRSR has responsibility for regulatory oversight of rail safety in every Australian state and territory, to promote and improve national rail safety and ensure the safety of the community.

  • Working at ONRSR

    We are always looking for the right people who will - through their work - contribute to our vision of 'safe railways for Australia'

  • Legislation - Rail Safety National Law & related legislation

    The Rail Safety National Law was passed through the South Australian Parliament on 1 May 2012 replacing 46 pieces of State, Territory and Commonwealth legislation.

  • Safety responsibilities

    The Rail Safety National Law has been developed with the principles of shared responsibility and accountability.

  • Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs)

    Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) support ONRSR’s work with other agencies by recognising the roles of parties and facilitating coordination to improve regulatory efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Privacy at ONRSR

    ONRSR is responsible for the privacy and security of information while it is collected, stored on or passing through this site.

  • Operator Essentials
  • Accreditation & registration

    The Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) requires that a a person or entity must apply for and be granted accreditation by ONRSR before commencing railway operations.

  • Forms and templates

    The one stop shop for all operator essential forms for applications, notifications and other templates.

  • Audits, inspections, compliance measures

    Rail transport operator compliance with their legislative obligations under the RSNL and with the terms of their accreditation and/or registration is central to rail safety.

  • Reporting requirements

    Rail transport operators have mandatory reporting obligations in relation to their operations - whether it be notifiable occurrences, monthly or annual returns, annual activity statements or safety performance reports.

  • Safety management systems

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

  • ONRSR portal

    The secure digital channel that facilitates the easy and reliable online exchange of all accreditation, regulatory activity and regulatory reporting data between ONRSR and regulated parties.

  • Initiate Interest to Apply for New Accreditation

    A person or entity intending to seek accreditation can initiate the process by contacting ONRSR via this form.

  • Safety essentials

    Safety and safety improvement in the Australian rail transport industry is a fundamental objective of ONRSR.

  • Engineering safety management

    ONRSR encourages industry to review and consider the Engineering Safety Management (iESM) guideline and how it may be applied, particularly in relation to the delivery of major projects.

  • Human factors

    Human factors is the discipline that applies knowledge of human capabilities and limitations to the design, operation and maintenance of technological systems.

  • Rail resource management

    The rail resource management (RRM) training package kit (non-technical skills) has been developed for Australian rail safety workers.

  • Tourist & Heritage and other smaller operators

    This page provides support and guidance for Tourist & Heritage and other smaller, less-complex operators in their efforts to demonstrate compliance consistent with their specific operations.

  • Waterfall rail accident

    As of 10 March 2017 ONRSR will report on progress in implementing the NSW Government's response to recommendations contained within the Final Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Waterfall Rail Accident.

  • Publications


    Select from our collection of published reports, guidance documentation, legislation, safety messaging, videos and digital animation content - including current and historical material.

  • Annual Report

    The ONRSR Annual Report provides a detailed account of operational and corporate performance and our major achievements of the last financial year.

  • Corporate Plan

    ONRSR's corporate goals set out in its Corporate Plan ensure that the ONRSR meets its obligations under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL).

  • Rail Safety Report

    ONRSR’s Rail Safety Report provides a national perspective of rail safety performance through the last financial year.

  • The ONRSR Way

    The ONRSR Way documents what type of regulator ONRSR is, how we operate and provides regulated parties and rail safety stakeholders general clarity around how ONRSR does business.

  • Videos and animations

    In addition to ONRSR’s regular written publications we also have video messaging and digital re-creation safety message animations available for viewing.

  • Fact Sheets

    ONRSR publishes fact sheets for the rail industry and public on specific rail safety issues.

  • Guidelines

    ONRSR guidelines provide key information and clarification to both the rail industry and public on legislative, regulatory and technical matters associated with safe railway operations.

  • Policies

    Publicly available policies provide key headline information to industry on how ONRSR will administer the law in respect of particular subject areas.

  • National Rail Safety Register

    The National Rail Safety Registers are updated regularly with details of issue of Accreditation, Statutory Notices, Registrations or Exemptions for rail transport operators accredited to operate in the jurisdictional areas for which the National Rail Safety Regulator has responsibility.

    **Note: To open the Accreditation, Registration or Exemption Registers click to open a condensed view and use the arrow symbol to expand to full screen. The Register of Statutory Notices accessed via the link provided and will open in a pdf format.

  • National rail safety data

    ONRSR collects data from operators through notifiable occurrences, enabling us to identify safety concerns and work proactively with industry to resolve them.

  • Key occurrences

    These interactive charts offer detailed statistics relating to rail safety occurrences and include data to 30 June 2022. An update is being prepared to incorporate the new safety data collected since 1 July 2022.

  • Industry drug and alcohol testing

    This interactive chart contains a summary of drug and alcohol testing conducted by industry and include data to 30 June 2022. An update is being prepared to incorporate the new safety data collected since 1 July 2022.

  • National priorities data

    These interactive charts offer industry safety performance data relating to some of ONRSR's current and recent national priority areas and include data to 30 June 2022. An update is being prepared to incorporate the new safety data collected since 1 July 2022.

  • Network statistics

    These interactive charts provide a snapshot of Australian rail network statistics and include data to 30 June 2022. An update is being prepared to incorporate the new safety data collected since 1 July 2022.

  • Scope and methods

    Statistics (updated every six months) allowing operators to benchmark their safety performance against industry and sector averages.

  • Major rail projects

    All major railway projects will result in a requirement to either vary or obtain accreditation under the RSNL.

  • Presentations & case studies

    ONRSR endeavours to publish all its public presentations and other external case studies and papers it develops.

  • Historical resources

    Historical presentations and other papers include those published by previous state and territory regulators before commencement of ONRSR on 20 January 2013.

  • Industry information
  • CEO Industry Reference Group

    The CEO Industry Reference Group comprising heads of various industry stakeholders meet three times a year to discuss important issues and strategies.

  • National Operations Committee (NOC)

    Chaired by Peter Doggett, Chief Operating Officer, the monthly NOC meeting, attended by all ONRSR General Managers as well as other key managers provides a key means of achieving national uniformity and consistency in operational matters across the country.

  • En-gaugement Forum

    En-gaugement Forums (previously known as Operations Forum) are held at various times throughout the year and aims to provide ONRSR and rail industry representatives the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss localised operational rail safety and regulation issues specific to that region.

  • Contact us
  • Variation of Accreditation

    A rail transport operator (RTO) intending to vary its current accreditation can use this form to initiate the process.

  • Notify ONRSR of changes

    From time to time, a change is to be made to an accredited rail transport operator (RTO)'s operations and on these occasions, ONRSR must be notified.

  • Initiate Interest to apply for Exemption

    An RTO intending to seek exemption can initiate the process by using this form to contact ONRSR to discuss the specified railway operations, either current or proposed.

  • Variation of Exemption

    An RTO intending to vary its current exemption can initiate the process by contacting ONRSR to discuss the intended changes to railway operations and exemption requirements.

  • Surrender of Accreditation

    An accredited RTO may apply to ONRSR to surrender its accreditation.

  • Accreditation fees

    The fees relevant to accredited rail transport operators, or those seeking accreditation, are outlined here.

  • Audits

    Audits are programmed as part of ONRSR’s work program or may be triggered in response to a specific safety incident or emerging safety issue.

  • Inspections

    ONRSR may conduct inspections to assess whether a rail transport operator is in compliance with its obligations and responsibilities under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL).

  • Notices

    There are four different types of notices that may be served under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL)

  • Site visits

    Rail safety officers undertake site visits to observe railway operations and railway premises to ensure Australia’s rail system is as safe as possible.

  • Road rail vehicles and the law

    A road rail vehicle, or RRV, is a vehicle which can operate on rail tracks and a conventional road.

  • Monthly returns

    Accredited rail transport operators are required to report certain activity data to ONRSR each month.

  • Notifiable occurrences

    A notifiable occurrence means an accident or incident associated with railway operations that must be reported to ONRSR.

  • Annual activity statements

    Registered rail infrastructure managers are required to submit an activity statement to ONRSR annually.

  • Safety performance reporting

    Accredited rail transport operators are required to submit a Safety Performance Report to the Regulator on an annual (or otherwise agreed) basis.

  • Managing fatigue

    Fatigue can be a major source of risk in a 24/7 transport industry like rail.

  • Drug and alcohol testing

    Under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), a rail safety worker must not carry out or attempt to carry out rail safety work while there is any presence of alcohol or a ‘prescribed drug’ in their system.

  • Variation of Registration

    A registered RIM proposing change to its operations, or the conditions or restrictions of its registration, may be required to submit a Variation to Registration if it proposes:

  • Surrender of Registration

    A Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) may surrender registration of its private siding.

  • Registration fees

    The fees relevant to registered rail infrastructure managers of private sidings, or those seeking registration, are outlined here.

  • Altered working arrangements

    Departures from accepted practices, in particular the reversion to dated, sometimes analogue working arrangements – often due to last minute decisions, external pressures and/or unforeseen events, are becoming widely recognised precursors to a range of incidents.

  • Level crossing safety - regional

    There are more than 23,000 level crossings in Australia many of which involve interactions between rail operations, road traffic, cyclists and pedestrians every minute of every day.

  • Contractor management

    Under the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), safety is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders (operators, workers and ONRSR) as well as those who supply or provide services.

  • Rail safety worker competency

    With adherence to procedures and network rules so critical to safety in the industry, the competency of rail safety workers is of paramount importance. Incident analysis reveals that both a lack of worker competency and the poor management of systems designed to record qualifications and knowledge, can lead to an increased risk of hazardous events.

  • Safety messages

    Safety messages are published by ONRSR periodically and are designed to focus on specific areas of rail safety concern, to share information between the regulator and the rail industry, and to identify positive steps to enhance rail safety.

  • Safety alerts

    Safety alerts are issued as needed to inform accredited rail transport operators and the broader rail industry of current and emerging safety issues.

  • Legals
  • Freedom of Information

    Under the FOI Act, ONRSR has obligations to ensure that certain information concerning its operations is readily available.

  • Copyright & Disclaimer
  • National Rail Safety Data Strategy 2018-2022

    The National Rail Safety Data Strategy 2018 – 2022 (the Strategy) champions a single relevant, consistent and quality national rail safety data set that is readily available to stakeholders to make rail safety decisions.

  • Corporate publications

    All our corporate and public reports and information is located here.

  • Fact Sheets, Guidelines and Policies

    Fact sheets, guidelines and policies provide the rail industry and public with key information on specific rail safety issues and legislative, regulatory and technical matters associated with the administration of ONRSR.

  • Amendments to legislation

    All changes to the Rail Safety National Law and National Regulations are approved by the Infrastructure and Transport Ministers’ Meeting, which comprises each state/territory transport Minister.

  • SMS modules for T&H (& smaller less-complex) operators

    ONRSR has developed these Safety Management System (SMS) modules to assist smaller, less-complex operators (including tourist and heritage) when developing or reviewing their SMS.

  • Example module templates

    These are examples only and use of them is up to each organisation.

  • Management of emergency working (unplanned works)

    ONRSR reminds all rail transport operators to be aware of the inherent risks associated with undertaking emergency or unplanned maintenance.

  • Safety Message: Short warning times (wheel-rail interface issues)

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with short warning times at level crossings caused by wheel-rail interface issues.

  • Safety Message: 'A1 SPADs’ – Limit of authority missed by train crew

    Note: As a result of the National Rail Safety Data Strategy implementation, from 1 July 2022, A1 SPADs are Category A Proceed Authority Exceedances. Further information about reporting and occurrence data submission requirements can be found here


  • Safety Message - Digital recreation #3 - Worksite protection incident recreation & learnings

    ONRSR’s first digital animation for 2021 focuses on a worksite protection occurrence and provides key learnings and advice for operators in relation to work on track.

  • Safety Message: Wabtec Air Brake System – advice to rail transport operators

    An ONRSR investigation into a recent runaway incident revealed a feature of the Wabtec air brake system that is now highlighted to rail transport operators.

  • Safety Message: Train to train collisions - risks, causes & controls

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with train to train collisions.

  • Safety Message: Preparedness and Awareness - Know Your Operation and Kit

    The systems, machinery, hardware and software used to run rail operations are often necessarily complex, but ONRSR is becoming increasingly aware that operators are not always fully aware of the detailed operational specifications of their many and varied pieces of kit.

  • Safety Message: Track Worker Safety National Priority Project Update

    ONRSR identified track worker safety as one of its inaugural national priorities in 2016, ensuring the issue was the subject of a sustained period of regulatory attention.

  • Safety message: Digital recreation #2 - Uncontrolled wagon movement

    In this, ONRSR’s second digital re-creation, we look at the issue of uncontrolled movements and what happens when rail safety workers take shortcuts and ignore processes and protocols.

  • Safety Message: Network Controller competencies

    ONRSR is advising operators to assess competency of network controllers following an emerging trend.

  • Safety message: Emergency communications and readiness

    Training for an emergency situation is important so that it becomes routine, as much as possible.

  • Safety message: Digital recreation #1 - Safety critical communication

    This digital recreation explores the issue of a communications breakdown that resulted in a near miss for a track worker

  • Regulating during COVID-19 - Freight

    Regardless of the current circumstances, the principles of risk management, risk control, and active supervision continue to be a legal and critical requirement even if there is a need to perform work in different conditions.

  • Safety Message - Rail Safety Officers: Powers under Rail Safety National Law

    ONRSR’s rail safety officers (RSOs) are our primary interface with accredited rail transport operators and they are based in each of our offices around the country

  • Safety Message - Safety Management System Case Study - ONRSR and ASSCO

    ONRSR recently worked with the Australian Society of Section Car Operators to address an outdated safety management system and safety culture. The experience serves as an important reminder to all rail transport operators to ensure safety is always the top priority

  • Safety Message - Load distribution for Road Rail Vehicles

    rail transport operators are reminded that wheel loads effect safe guidance of vehicles on track with excessive loads leading to damaged rolling stock components and track structures.

  • Lessons Learned: ONRSR & GWA - Whyalla Runaway Incident

    This document shares findings made from a runaway incident that occurred on 31 July 2019 in Whyalla, South Australia that should be used as an input to the risk review processes for operators managing a similar operating scenario.

  • Safety message: Passengers caught in rolling stock doors - Risks, causes and controls

    ONRSR has developed new guidance for rail transport operators about the potential causes of incidents where people get stuck in rolling stock doors. It includes information regarding the existing controls available to eliminate or minimise the risk.

  • Safety Message - Track Condition and Derailment Risk

    ONRSR is emphasising to all Rail Infrastructure Managers (RIMs) the increased risks posed by poorly maintained track following a series of recent derailments.

  • Safety Message: ONRSR Investigation Findings: Worksite Protection Incidents

    ONRSR is reminding all operators of the importance of careful planning when carrying out Track Occupancy Authority and Local Possession Authority activities.

  • Safety Message: Unsafe Loading of Coal Wagons

    This safety message is directed to coal loading operators and any other rolling stock operators responsible for loading coal into wagons.

  • Safety Message - Importance of a System Engineering Approach

    Following recent incidents and observations the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is reminding all operators of the importance of a system engineering approach.

  • Safety Message - Rolling Stock Maintenance - November 2018
  • Safety Message: Fatigue risk management programs and enterprise bargaining agreements

    Some rail transport operators (RTO) may choose to apply arrangements from enterprise bargaining agreements to their fatigue risk management program. In this instance there are strict obligations that an RTO’s safety management system must meet.

  • Safety Message: Management of emergency working (unplanned works)

    ONRSR is reminding all rail transport operators to be aware of the inherent risks associated with undertaking emergency or unplanned maintenance.

  • Safety Message: ATSB investigation report findings on use of bio-mathematical models of human fatigue – learnings for the rail industry

    An ATSB-identified limitation of use of the bio-mathematical model FAID has relevance to the rail industry.

  • Asbestos found in imported friction wear plates in rail carriages – WA Government alert

    Asbestos has recently been found in friction wear plates in the suspension systems of rail carriages.

  • Technical Review: Wheel Failure Incidents and Other Data in the Hunter Valley: 2013–2015

    A review of the metallurgical and associated factors covering eight wheel failure incidents, issued for the benefit of like-for-like railways.

  • Technical Review: Wheel Failure Incidents and Other Data in the Hunter Valley: 2013–2015

    Sets out ONRSR's road rail vehicle (RRV) human factors observations and analyses.

  • Safety Message: Preventing unbraked runaways of permanently coupled wagons with shared braking platforms

    The ONRSR is concerned about the risk of permanently coupled pairs of freight wagons, which share a braking system, becoming uncoupled and resulting in a runaway. Rail operators are expected to reassess the risk/s associated with permanently coupled wagons and consider additional measures to mitigate these risks.

  • Safety Message: An emerging issue: 'shattered rim' wheel defects

    Australian rail operators may need to review and revise risk registers to manage the hazards associated with ‘shattered rim’ following two recent incidents, which may be indicators of a larger safety issue for the industry.

  • Safety Message: Learning lessons from international rail incidents

    Investigation reports into rail accidents overseas can provide valuable lessons learned which, when applied, may reduce the risk of these incidents occurring in Australia.

  • Safety Message: Managing the risks associated with roadrail vehicles

    The ONRSR has been working closely with the rail industry to assist in the identification and management of risks associated with the operation of Road/Rail Vehicles (RRVs).

  • Interactive diagram safety management system modules for less-complex operators

    The Module Interactive Diagram provides you with an overall view of the modules with a direct link to each - simply point and click to open the specific module you want to access.

  • Search Results
  • Presentations & Historical Resources

    ONRSR's collection of published presentations, case studies, papers and other historical resources including those published by previous state and territory regulators before commencement of the ONRSR

  • Registration of a private siding

    A Rail Infrastructure Manager (RIM) of a private siding that is, or is to be, connected to another railway or private siding must be registered for each siding it intends to manage.

  • Exemption

    ONRSR can grant exemptions to operators from the requirement to be accredited or registered.

  • New smart resource a game changer for level crossing safety

    A brand new digital resource for the rail industry is set to transform the management of safety at more than 20,000 level crossings around Australia.

  • Regulator using Rail Safety Week to highlight priority issues

    ONRSR has thrown its weight behind TrackSafe’s Stand Back, Look Up, Stay Rail Safe, campaign, while also using this Rail Safety Week to highlight how its focus on a series of national rail safety priorities is helping keep Australians safe on the rail network.

  • Contractor management update - July 2021

    The contractor management national priority has been scoped to include a 4-phase approach

  • Safety Alert issued: Review of long end leading operations

    ONRSR has today issued a new Safety Alert advising rail transport operators to review the risks associated with ‘long end leading’ locomotive operations.

  • ONRSR Engauge-ment Forum #1

    In early June, ONRSR held the first of its new Engauge-ment Forums, meeting with representatives from accredited operators located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Previously badged as Branch Operations Forums (or BOFs), these face-to-face sessions are a great opportunity for industry representatives to get information most relevant to them.

  • Latest News

    Keep up with all ONRSR's news and information to the rail industry - current and earlier items located here.

  • Operations

    For assistance and enquiries

  • Local Office

    For further information contact your local office

  • ONRSR National Office

    For enquiries regarding rail operations in South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

  • Hobart
  • Sydney

    For enquiries regarding rail operations in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Media Enquiries

    Ross Stargatt
    Senior Manager, Strategic Planning and Communications

  • Best practice Track Worker Safety resource released

    ONRSR, in conjunction with the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), has released the results of a global investigation into how world standard technology can protect track workers in the Australian rail industry.

  • Consultation paper - National Rail Safety Data Strategy

    The National Rail Safety Data Strategy (the Strategy) is a joint project between the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). The proposed data set has been developed jointly by ARA, ONRSR and industry representatives.

  • Consultation paper - ONRSR's Cost Recovery Model

    ONRSR has been progressing the development of a national cost recovery model based on risk and regulatory effort, on behalf of Transport and Infrastructure Ministers. This model represents a significant shift from current cost recovery arrangements.

  • Safety Tools and Resources

    On this page you will find links to tools and resources on a range of topics.

  • Worksite protection

    Worksite protection in Australia relies heavily on rules and procedures to protect people undertaking rail safety work.

  • Contributing factors

    The Contributing Factors Framework was developed by the former Rail Safety Regulators’ Panel and the use of it by the rail industry is voluntary but encouraged by ONRSR.

  • UPDATE: Identifying Rail Safety Work under the RSNL Guideline

    ONRSR has updated the Identifying Rail Safety Work under the RSNL Guideline which provides guidance on the term “rail safety work”, and outlines how rail transport operators (RTO) can identify rail safety workers as part of their risk management processes.

  • Adelaide (inc. Darwin)

    For enquiries regarding rail operations in South Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

  • New Control Assurance Fact Sheet

    ONRSR has produced a new industry fact sheet covering its National Priority rail safety issue of control assurance.

  • Safety Alert issued: Isolation of level crossings on adjacent lines

    ONRSR has issued a Safety Alert in response to several recent occurrences where level crossings were incorrectly isolated resulting in trains travelling through unprotected level crossings.

  • Cost recovery consultation

    ONRSR will soon be releasing a consultation paper on our proposed cost recovery model.

  • Network Control Safety Issues

    ONRSR is providing more information to rail transport operators and network controllers about the common issues we have identified across network control operations in Australia.

  • ONRSR Rail Safety Report 2019-2020

    ONRSR’s yearly account of rail safety has been released and as the first such report produced since becoming a fully national rail safety regulator, it provides the most comprehensive statistical picture of the Australian rail industry’s safety performance to date.

  • Investigations at ONRSR

    ONRSR’s ability to take a detailed and formal look at the circumstances behind a specific rail safety issue is a fundamental element of our broader role in administering Rail Safety National Law. But, exactly how does the national regulator approach investigations?

  • ONRSR Guideline - Fatigue Risk Management

    ONRSR has developed a Fatigue Risk Management Guideline to provide practical guidance to rail transport operators on how to manage the fatigue-related risks associated with rail safety work and set out ONRSR’s expectations for meeting the requirements of the RSNL.

  • ONRSR releases 2019-2020 Annual Report

    ONRSR’s Annual Report 2019–2020 is now available to download.

  • National Rail Safety Data Strategy Consultation

    ONRSR has partnered with the ARA and industry representatives to develop the National Rail Safety Data Strategy with the aim to deliver a relevant, consistent and high-quality national rail safety dataset that is readily available to stakeholders to make rail safety decisions.

  • In-cab audio and video safety recordings: Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement

    It is timely to consider the value of in-cab video and audio recordings in providing critical information about the in-cab environment in the moments leading to a rail incident on Australia’s rail network. This has been highlighted following recent fatal rail incidents and also in response to a number of ATSB investigations, where this information would help provide investigators and the rail industry with critical information that may help to prevent a similar incident from occurring again.

  • Consultations to round out 2020

    ONRSR will be using the closing months of 2020 to undertake stakeholder consultation on a range of key policy matters affecting the Australian rail industry.

  • ONRSR Major Projects Guideline review and update

    The ONRSR Major Projects Guideline is one of the most accessed of our industry resources and given the significant investments being made in major rail projects around Australia, it is more important than ever.

  • Draft Fatigue Risk Management Guideline for consultation

    ONRSR has produced a draft Fatigue Risk Management Guideline to provide practical guidance to rail transport operators on how to manage the fatigue-related risks associated with rail safety work and set out ONRSR’s expectations for meeting the requirements of the RSNL.

  • New fact sheets - Safe software and safe systems

    ONRSR has developed two new fact sheets for industry to help ensure system upgrades – be they physical or digital - are implemented as seamlessly and safely as possible.

  • Reminder: Immediate incident notification

    ONRSR is reminding operators of the requirement to verbally report Category A incidents immediately – also noting where two operators are involved, both operators must notify ONRSR.

  • Identifying rail safety work – changes from 1 July 2020

    Changes to the definitions of rail safety work in the Rail Safety National Law will take effect from 1 July 2020 (except in Western Australia). This follows the work of the National Transport Commission and agreement of State and Territory Ministers in November 2019.

  • New Fact Sheet released for Tourist & Heritage operators

    With the gradual reopening of services and operations, ONRSR has prepared a Fact Sheet providing Tourist & Heritage operators with relevant information to assist them in complying with all requirements of their safety management system (SMS) after an extended shutdown of operations.

  • Collaboration to ID best practice safety for Aussie rail workers

    Australia’s leading authorities on rail safety will join forces to identify world standard safety technology that can be deployed to protect workers on our nation’s rail networks.

  • Website updates and document withdrawal

    The ONRSR website has undergone some recent changes; including content updates of existing material and the introduction of new pages.

  • New SMS modules for T&H and smaller operators

    In response to feedback from Tourist and Heritage operators and, as part of broader stakeholder engagement, ONRSR has been working with the sector to roll out a number of initiatives to support the Tourist and Heritage sector and other smaller less-complex operators.

  • Stakeholder Survey Generates Invaluable Insights

    On a daily basis ONRSR engages with a multitude of rail safety stakeholders in carrying out its functions and pursuing its objectives under Rail Safety National Law.

  • ONRSR calls for independent track audit

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has called on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to immediately commission a fully independent audit of the railway track between Sydney and Melbourne.

  • ONRSR Chief hails the decade of delivery

    ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey has reflected on the past decade confident it will be remembered as one of the most telling periods ever for safety and efficiency in the Australian rail sector.

  • ONRSR Welcomes Productivity Commission Draft Report

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) will continue its pursuit of safe railways for Australia, buoyed by the key findings of the Productivity Commission’s Draft Report into National Transport Regulatory Reform.

  • ONRSR formalises jurisdiction in Victoria

    Responsibility for rail safety regulation in Victoria will officially transfer from Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) from December 2.

  • Changes to the NSW drug and alcohol identity card issuing process

    Following consultation with NSW rail transport operators (RTOs) and third party testing service providers, ONRSR is introducing changes to the NSW drug and alcohol identity card issuing process.

  • Release of NTC Dangerous Goods Emergency Response Guide

    If you transport dangerous goods by rail, then the following article may be of interest to you.

  • Introduction of Prescribed Incidents on 1 July 2019

    UPDATE: Please see updated information by following this link.

  • Welcome to a new www.onrsr.com.au

    All rail safety stakeholders across Australia are welcomed to ONRSR’s brand new website.

  • Safety Message – Short Warning Times (overspeed or procedural breaches)

    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.

  • The ONRSR Way

    The ONRSR Way documents what type of regulator ONRSR is, how we operate and provides regulated parties and rail safety stakeholders general clarity around how ONRSR does business.

  • Safety Message – Rail bridges struck by road vehicles or vessels

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated road vehicles or vessels striking rail bridges.

  • Safety Message – Network Controllers and Runaways

    ONRSR is asking those rail transport operators (RTOs) – with Network Control centres – to ensure network controllers are properly trained in the event of runaway incidents.

  • Safety Alert - Fraudulent Rail Safety Worker competencies

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has today issued a new Safety Alert advising rail transport operators that a check and verification process has revealed that a significant number of fraudulent competencies have been uploaded into the Rail Industry Worker (RIW) program.

  • ONRSR 2020-2021 Rail Safety Report
  • Safety Message – Falls between the platform and train

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with passenger falls between the platform and train.

  • Train Visibility Review

    A review of research, and national and international best practice in relation to train visibility – commissioned by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has been completed.

  • Train Visibility Review

    Infrastructure and Transport Ministers have asked ONRSR to develop a code of practice for train illumination to reflect the findings of recent train lighting trials. A code of practice will set out best practice to the industry and is admissible in a proceeding as evidence of whether or not a rail operator has complied with a duty or obligation under the Rail Safety National Law.

    A draft code is expected to be presented to Ministers in 2024 for their consideration and approval.

  • In-Cab audio & video endorsed

    In late 2021, Federal and State Transport Ministers endorsed ONRSR’s policy to mandate in-cab audio and video on mainline passenger and freight trains.

  • Safety Message – Sticking brakes

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with sticking brakes on all types of rolling stock.

  • Safety Message – Fires on passenger rolling stock

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators (RTOs) about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with fires and explosions on passenger rolling stock.

  • National Priorities review

    Every two years ONRSR reviews its national priorities, those areas of regulatory focus that apply to multiple jurisdictions and operators and warrant a sustained period of regulatory attention.

  • Safety Message – Fires in tunnels and underground stations

    ONRSR is reminding rail transport operators about a range of risks, causes and controls associated with fires in underground tunnels and stations (FTUGs).

  • Safety critical communication

    ONRSR incident investigations have identified poor safety critical communications as a contributing factor to an increasing number of extremely serious occurrences across all sectors of the industry, ranging from authority irregularities to conflicting train movements, runaways and near-hits.

  • Safety Message: Digital re-creation #5 - Authority gradients and safety culture on worksites

    ONRSR’s first digital incident re-creation of 2022 details what can go wrong when safety culture is eroded and safety systems are not prepared, explained and executed correctly.

  • ONRSR-RISSB: Track Worker Safety Options Report

    ONRSR, in conjunction with the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), has released the results of a global investigation into how world standard technology can protect track workers in the Australian rail industry.

  • Updated NSW Rail Safety Regulation

    The NSW Rail Safety (Adoption of National Law) Regulation 2018 is being amended.

  • Safety Message – Ad hoc systems and procedures vs Safety Management Systems

    In this safety message - the first in a new series - ONRSR identifies a number of potential scenarios whereby informal or ad hoc processes and procedures can undermine a safety management system and create safety issues.

  • ONRSR prosecutes on synthetic urine sample

    ONRSR has commenced its first prosecution against a rail safety worker for attempting to provide synthetic urine when directed to provide a sample for routine drug and alcohol testing.

  • National Rail Safety Data Strategy – Go Live – 1 July 2022

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) are today celebrating a major milestone following the official launch of Australia’s new rail safety data reporting scheme.

  • Track Worker Safety – The Story So Far

    With oversight of rail safety across Australia, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) deals with a myriad of safety concerns every single day - but few, if any, have drawn the national watchdog’s sustained focus like that of track worker safety.

  • Rio Tinto
  • Metro Trains Melbourne
  • Queensland Rail
  • Aurizon
  • Sydney Trains
  • ARTC
  • Safety message: The Dangers of Reprioritising Defects

    ONRSR conducts regulatory activities, including audits, inspections and site visits, across multiple operators and sectors. In conducting these activities, ONRSR often observes and identifies common safety themes and issues.

    In this series of safety messages, ONRSR highlights these issues, how they can potentially increase risks to rail safety and what better practice can look like to minimise the potential risks.

  • Safety Alert RSA-2022-001 Infrastructure Trailers: Coupling and Braking Systems

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has today issued a new Safety Alert advising rail transport operators of the risk of unbraked runaway associated with coupling systems and braking systems fitted to infrastructure trolleys and trailers.

  • Safety message - Digital recreation #4 - SPADs: managing the risks SFAIRP

    ONRSR is reminding operators of the importance of managing the risks of SPADs and what the consequences of not doing so can potentially lead to.

  • ONRSR welcomes focus of Rail Safety Week '22

    Australia’s National Rail Safety Regulator has thrown its support behind Rail Safety Week 2022 and its emphasis on the dangers of distraction.

  • ONRSR welcomes operator incident recreation

    For the past 2 years, ONRSR has been using digital re-creations of rail safety occurrences as an educational tool for rail transport operators. Recently, some rail transport operators have begun developing their own digital animations that detail the circumstances of incidents that have occurred.

  • Safety message: Sandbox maintenance

    As the saying goes, what can go wrong will go wrong and it’s this reality ONRSR wants rail transport operators to more actively consider when assessing what have been generally low safety risks.

  • Safety message: Deviating from procedures and standards

    ONRSR is highlighting the dangers of straying from documented processes when designing and maintaining operations and infrastructure.

  • Girl power @ ONRSR

    Like the broader Australian rail industry, ONRSR has worked hard since its inception to provide career pathways for women into what were once male dominated roles.

  • Notice to all operators - Cyber security alert

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has become aware of an accredited rail transport operator (RTO) receiving an email requesting payment of its Annual Fees Invoice to updated banking details. The email comes from an account purporting to be ONRSR.

  • Safety message : Risk assessments undertaken as administrative tasks

    In conducting ONRSR’s regulatory activities, ONRSR has found that some operators are undertaking a risk assessment as an administrative task or hurdle rather than as a process to support or guide their decision-making.

  • Decisions, Delivery and Data - A decade of ONRSR

    On the 20th of January 2013 the Curiosity Rover found signs that water once flowed on Mars. Elsewhere, Barack Obama was sworn in for a second term as President of the United States, and a little closer to home, a heat wave that had sparked bushfires across much of south-eastern Australia finally relented.

    And on that same day, in a somewhat less seismic but nonetheless historic development, the doors opened at the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

  • Cost Recovery: Time to complete Management and Control Assessments

    In preparation for the new national cost recovery model which, subject to Ministerial approval and legislative amendments, will come into effect from 1 July 2023, accredited commercial operators required to undertake the Management and Control assessments can do so via the ONRSR Portal. These will need to be submitted by 2 December 2022.

  • Sue McCarrey to depart national rail regulator

    Following a highly successful eight-year tenure spent fostering Australia’s fledgling rail regulator into a nationally recognised safety authority, ONRSR Chief Executive Sue McCarrey will depart her post at the end of the year.

  • Safety Alert - Independent Competent Persons (ICPs) that certify rolling stock
  • Safety Message: Runaways within and from yards and sidings

    ONRSR is highlighting the risk of rolling stock runaways in yards and sidings and detailing a range of effective controls.

  • Safety Message: Lineside fires

    ONRSR is highlighting the risk of lineside fires and detailing a range of effective controls.

  • Prosecutions

    Our Prosecutions team enforces the RSNL in all participating jurisdictions in Australia.

  • Enforceable Voluntary Undertakings

    Enforceable Voluntary Undertakings (EVUs) are formal written undertakings from a person in relation to a contravention or alleged contravention of the law.

  • Statutory Notices

    The National Rail Safety Register of Statutory Notices issued for rail transport operators accredited to operate in the jurisdictional areas for which the National Rail Safety Regulator has responsibility.

  • Enforcing RSNL

    ONRSR aims to facilitate an improvement to safety or compliance with the RSNL by giving direction to a rail transport operator or individual imposing sanctions or seeking court penalties for contraventions of the RSNL.

    ONRSR’s enforcement decisions are made proportionate to the identified risk to safety, the seriousness of any perceived breach, and/or the level of non-compliance with legislative requirements. When presented with a potential breach against the RSNL, ONRSR has a range of powers, legislative sanctions and enforcement options available to secure safe outcomes and compliance with the law.

    Enforcement action that involves the application of sanctions or penalties will typically be taken on completion of an investigation, which is principally undertaken to determine breaches of the RSNL. Operators should be aware that all enforcement options are always available to be utilised against all duty holders at any time. These measures are outlined below.

  • ONRSR Prosecution: Warning to all in Magistrate’s decision

    A train driver who put lives at risk after inexplicably “losing” four carriages and failing to take immediate action to secure and recover them has been issued a $30,000 fine for two breaches of Australia’s Rail Safety National Law (RSNL).

  • Level Crossing Isolation - Safety Video

    New safety video produced by ONRSR on safety measures around level crossing isolation.

  • Investigations

    ONRSR deploys its investigative resources in order to establish whether a breach of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) has occurred.

  • Investigations @ ONRSR - a visual guide

    Our safety animations are a very effective and popular way to provide information to operators and individuals alike. This time we have tweaked the format a little.

  • Cost recovery

    Update as at July 2023.

  • Safety Forum shines light on Illawarra Range

    ONRSR has hosted representatives of some of the largest rail transport operators in Australia at a forum dedicated to optimising safety in one of the nation’s busiest rail corridors.

  • ONRSR welcomes conviction on rail safety worker failure

    ONRSR has welcomed a conviction, under Rail Safety National Law, recorded against a rail safety worker whose actions endangered others at a Queensland worksite in 2020.

  • Safety message: Managing your bridge assets

    ONRSR is highlighting some of the key good practices and requirements for effective management of railway bridges.

  • Queensland Rail charged over fatal accident

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has filed three charges against Queensland Rail (QR) following an investigation into a fatal train accident at Westwood, near Rockhampton in Queensland, in June 2021.

  • National Law boosted to stamp out competency frauds

    Rail safety workers using fraudulent qualifications will face fines of up to $10,000 under changes being made to Australia’s Rail Safety National Law.

  • Safety message: Managing your track infrastructure assets

    ONRSR is highlighting good practices and requirements for effective management of railway track infrastructure

  • Driver charged over potentially deadly breach

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has this week charged a Victorian train driver who it alleges exposed numerous passengers and crew to the risk of death or serious injury by recklessly passing through multiple red signals while talking on a mobile phone.

  • New ONRSR Fact Sheet Released: Powers to Obtain Information

    ONRSR has released a new rail industry fact sheet designed to clarify the requirements when persons, particularly rail safety workers, are compelled to answer questions by our Rail Safety Officers.

  • Safety message: Managing your rolling stock assets

    ONRSR is highlighting some of the key good practices and requirements for effective management of freight and passenger rolling stock.

  • Repeat Offender Cops Fatigue Conviction

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has welcomed the finalisation of proceedings against a rail safety worker in New South Wales who pleaded guilty to three charges relating to serious and repeated breaches of Rail Safety National Law (RSNL)

  • ONRSR backing Rail Safety Week '23

    ONRSR is again throwing its support behind the upcoming Rail Safety Week (August 7-13), using the important period to highlight the responsibility we all have for safety on the network.

  • Safety message: Managing your signalling assets

    ONRSR is highlighting some of the key good practices and requirements for effective management of railway Signalling, Communications, Electrical and Control Systems (SCE&CS).

  • $20,000 fine for train driver

    A Victorian train driver who exposed his passengers, and those on another train, to the risk of a catastrophic collision while talking on his mobile phone has been fined $20,000 in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court.

  • Safety Message: Digital re-creation #6 - Braking procedures and capability

    ONRSR’s latest digital incident re-creation is based on a potentially disastrous incident that highlights the need for absolute vigilance in adhering to the fundamentals of a safety management system.

  • Safety message: Ageing infrastructure

    ONRSR is growing increasingly concerned about the prevalence of ageing infrastructure on Australian railway networks and is calling on operators to work closely with it to find appropriate solutions to address the issue.

  • Victims of Crime

    As part of its responsibilities to ensure compliance with the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), ONRSR undertakes enforcement action in instances where it considers a breach of the RSNL has occurred.

  • ONRSR welcomes new Chief Executive

    The search for Australia’s next National Rail Safety Regulator is over, with Dr. Natalie Pelham appointed Chief Executive of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

  • Train driver fined $5,000 for disregarding legal notice

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has welcomed a decision in the Brisbane Magistrate’s Court to fine a train driver for failing to attend a post-incident interview.

  • Safety message: Human Factors in maintenance

    In this safety message, ONRSR is highlighting some of the ways rail transport operators and rail infrastructure managers can apply a human factors lens to maintenance.

  • Safety Message: Altered Working Arrangements

    ONRSR investigations and those conducted by other regulatory authorities have identified both good and poor practice when managing risks that arise when unexpected changes occur during railway operations.

  • Queensland Rail fined over 2021 fatal accident

    ONRSR will use a court ruling into a fatal train accident to continue educating rail transport operators of the risks associated with long end leading locomotive operations and actions required to improve safety.

  • ONRSR facilitates demo of clean, green auto wagon

    ONRSR was recently on site when Arc Infrastructure publicly revealed its Autonomous Rail Wagon (ARW) concept with a demonstration of the rolling stock’s capabilities at the Kenwick Rail Freight Facility in Perth.

  • Safety Alert - Safeworking Competencies Compromised
  • Safety Alert - Incidents involving Manco rail equipment
  • ONRSR Statement - Fatal Accident 31.12.2023

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator has deployed investigators to the scene of today's fatal accident near the South Australian and NSW border.

  • Initiate Interest for Application for Registration

    A person or entity intending to seek registration of a private siding can initiate the process by contacting ONRSR via this form.

  • Safety Alert follow up - ASQA

    Following the release of an ONRSR safety alert the Australian Skills Quality Authority is now investigating technical training providers who are registered training organisations delivering rail worker industry competencies.

  • National Rail Safety Data Strategy delivers significant safety data improvements

    A joint initiative of the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) to undertake a massive overhaul of industry rail safety data reporting has now been completed, marking a significant milestone for the Australian rail industry.

  • Annual returns

    Accredited rail transport operators are required to report certain network and railway operations data, commonly referred to as the ontology data, to ONRSR each year.

  • ONRSR Welcomes RSNL Court Clarification

    ONRSR has welcomed the outcome of an appeal in the NSW Supreme Court by rail transport operator, Aurizon, against a decision that saw a variation to its accreditation denied on the basis of inadequate consultation with rail safety workers.

  • Safety Message: Investigating incidents

    During regulatory activities and interactions, ONRSR identifies both good and poor practice from rail operators’ investigations reports.

  • Safety Message: Type Approval

    During regulatory activities and interactions, ONRSR identifies both good and poor practice regarding rail equipment type approval.

  • ONRSR Statement On Wallan Findings

    The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and NSW Trains have been found guilty of breaches of Rail Safety National Law in relation to the derailment of a passenger train that killed two rail safety workers at Wallan, Victoria in February 2020.

  • ONRSR Welcomes Passage of RSNL in WA

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has welcomed the Western Australian Parliament’s decision to approve the full application of Rail Safety National Law (RSNL).

  • Safety Alert - Direct Drive Hydraulic Pumps

    The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has issued a new Safety Alert advising rail transport operators of the risk of uncontrolled movements associated with direct drive hydraulic pumps installed on Road Rail Vehicles (RRVs).

  • Safety case studies

    Safety case studies are published by ONRSR periodically and are designed to provide detailed insights into the specifics of a rail safety occurrence, the safety outcomes ONRSR has driven in the aftermath of the incident and the key learnings for accredited rail transport operators.

  • Wallan - 20/02/2020 - A Case Study
  • Safety Message: Pre-possession Planning Meetings

    A current ONRSR investigation has highlighted a concerning issue where safety critical staff such as protection officers are not attending pre-possession planning meetings.

  • Bindarrah - 31/12/2023 - A Case Study
  • Safety Message: Management of change

    During regulatory activities and interactions, ONRSR identifies both good and poor practice when operators undertake changes to their railways.

  • NLXP Consultation Feedback

    At ONRSR we are always looking for ways to improve and support safety. The National Level Crossing Portal (NLXP) was originally developed to provide better information to support operators in their safety management decisions at level crossings.

  • Review and update to Rail Locomotive Boilers Guideline

    The ONRSR Rail Locomotive Boilers Guideline provides rail transport operators with guidance on ONRSR’s expectations for demonstrating the safety of rail locomotive boilers. It also includes some guidance on the operation of reciprocating steam engines.

  • Director, Policy
    • Do you have a desire to have a positive impact on rail safety?
    • Join a team who share a commitment to making a difference.
    • Flexible working – we follow the hybrid working model

    Plays a key role in achieving the ONRSR vision of safe railways for Australia by leading the development and delivery of ONRSR’s policy and legislation framework.

  • Director, Stakeholder Engagement & Influence
    • Full time permanent opportunity with a team in a national organisation
    • Use your expertise to have a positive impact on rail safety
    • Flexible working arrangements – we follow the hybrid working model

    Join us at an exciting time to lead the development and delivery of the ONRSR’s stakeholder engagement & influence framework here at ONRSR.

  • ONRSR and the Suburban Rail Loop - A Case Study

    Melbourne’s Suburban Rail Loop Authority (SRLA) is overseeing one of Australia’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure projects, comprising a 90-kilometre railway linking every major rail artery across the Victorian capital. Multiple early works sites have been established and the project is transitioning into major works delivery.

  • ONRSR Boosts Strategic Focus of Drug and Alcohol Testing

    The national regulator will use improvements in the quality of rail safety data to re-focus its drug and alcohol testing regime, ensuring a more evidence-based approach to testing.

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Last updated: Jul 16, 2021, 11:29:42 PM