AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA calls for uniform fatigue regulation

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Australasian railway Association (ARA) has flagged its concerns over the transport sector’s differing standards for managing fatigue </span> <p>By Jennifer Perry</p><p>“Fatigue management is a vital component of the rail industry’s safety management systems and it is critical that we agree on a common national approach to managing fatigue in Australia,” ARA chief executive Bryan Nye said.</p><p>Nye welcomed the current “deliberations” over rail’s fatigue standards as part of the process to establish a National Rail Safety Regulator.</p><p>“The establishment of a National Rail Safety Regulator covers the whole operation of rail and what is subject to regulation. Fatigue management is just one element but a very important one and a consistent approach to this across industry and Australia is vital,” Nye told <em>Rail Express.</em></p><p>Current differing standards for managing fatigue in the rail industry sees imbalances such as the maximum prescribed driving hours for train drivers varying from state to state. New South Wales has maximum driving hours prescribed at 12 hours, unlike all other states.</p><p>Differing standards also see imbalances across transport sectors, with the heavy vehicle sector having greater prescribed driving hours than rail – up to 16 hours driving, with breaks.</p><p>The ARA said that “modal equality” in transport safety that still allows for innovation in fatigue management will lead to improved operating performance and safety outcomes for road and rail.</p><p>Australia’s rail industry has had a long term commitment ot managing fatigue for its rail safety workers, and has had effective safety management systems in place long before fatigue regulations were introduced, the ARA said.</p><p>Rail companies employ sophisticated fatigue countermeasures both in terms of control over the nature of working hours as well as education and sleep-work arrangements to ensure rail safety workers are given all the essential support htey need to arrive at work fit and not fatigued.</p><p>“All rail companies approach safety as a key business driver which means that it is in industry’s as well as its employees’ interests to have effective fatigue management systems in place,” Nye said.</p><p>“In fact the rail industry invests in continuous improvement for this fundamental work safety issues and this includes research into how to update world class standards for fatigue management.</p><p>“Establishment of the National Rail Safety Regulator is strongly supported by rail which is committed to ensuring we can operate our railways safely and competitively for the benefit of Australia.”<br />&nbsp</p><p>&nbsp</p>