Rail safety project fast tracked

With the safety of rail workers and the community its focus, the Rail Industry Reference Committee has supported fast tracking of the development of a Safety Critical Communication unit of competency and skill set.

Industry Rail transport is inherently the safest form of transport. Maintaining this reputation for safety is dependent on the industry’s ongoing commitment to responding to emerging risks and ensuring all members of the workforce have the right skills and knowledge to do their job.

In some instances, maintaining safety is a regulatory requirement, for example national rail safety legislation requires rail transport operators to ensure that each rail safety worker under their direction has the requisite knowledge and skills to perform their job in a safe manner.

Rail safety workers undertake critical roles relating to rail safety. They have many responsibilities including taking reasonable care of themselves and others as well as complying with instructions given by rail transport operators.

Safety Critical Communications, a Rail industry term used for the communication protocols in the case of incidents, accidents, and when addressing track workers, are an integral part of the safe and efficient operation of rail networks around Australia.

In recent years, the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) has continued to focus on worksite protection through a range of compliance inspections targeting worksites, communication protocols and control centres. From these compliance activities, ONRSR determined rail safety worker competency and ‘Safety Critical Communication’ as a national priority.

Due to the number of rail industry incidents and injuries caused by poor Safety Critical Communications, the ONRSR and the National Track Worker Safety Forum requested the Rail Industry Reference Committee (IRC) to prioritise the development of a new unit of competency in Safety Critical Communications as a matter of urgency.

The Rail IRC supported this request and has received approval from The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) for work to commence on a new unit of competency and Skill Set to address the skills required for communication protocols for rail safety workers in the rail corridor.

Under the direction of the Rail IRC, AIS will establish a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for this project, containing subject matter experts from industry to provide the technical input for  this project. The TAC will work with AIS to develop draft and final materials, taking into account all stakeholder feedback along the way. The Rail IRC will review the outcomes of the work of the TAC and sign off   for submission to  the AISC for approval.

You can find more information on the TLI Rail Safety Critical Communications project here.

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Klausch Schmidt
Industry Manager
P (03) 9604 7223
M 0417 568 967