21 May 2020

Collaboration To Identify Best Practice Safety for Australian 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.

Working on behalf of The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulatory (ONRSR) and the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), the Australasian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) will oversee the global investigation.

ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey said the impetus for the project was a simple one.

“This is about saving lives. Too many track workers have lost their lives in tragic and, on many occasions, avoidable accidents and we must always be exploring what more can be done to prevent them,” she said.

“Track worker safety is a long-standing national priority for ONRSR and together with our partner agencies we have an opportunity to facilitate really effective change.”

The key objective of the joint undertaking is to explore and identify, on a global scale, existing technology and techniques for ensuring track worker safety on railways. It is hoped that by understanding their feasibility and applicability to Australian circumstances, local operators will be able to adapt and integrate the approaches here.

RISSB Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Deb Spring said track worker safety is a key priority for RISSB.

“This project will form a critical component of a suite of related RISSB initiatives, offering both engineering solutions and exploring options around planning, communication and culture,” she said.

“This important work will help the Australian rail industry drive improvements in the safety of its most important asset – our people.”

The project will run for around six months and will include a detailed literature review informed by technical and global experts and tap into international case studies to create a database of new and emerging track worker safety technology. This will be followed by a period of stakeholder engagement that will ultimately inform a final report to be delivered in the second half of 2020, detailing the best options for the Australian rail industry.  

ACRI Chief Executive, Andrew Meier said the joint project was a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively to advance access to track worker safety solutions.  

“Trusted information made readily available is vital to rail decision making,” he said.

“ACRI is proud to be overseeing the delivery of this project for ONRSR and RISSB as a further pathway to safer rail operations.”


Media Contacts:

RISSB – Jennifer Willcock – 0455 556 287
ONRSR – Ross Stargatt – 0417 354 836
ACRI – Andrew Meier – (02) 6724 7405