Australian rail safety organisations will conduct a global investigation of best practices to inform track worker safety practices.
The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) and the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) have tasked the Australian Centre for Rail Innovation (ACRI) to report to the Australian industry on promising initiatives overseas.
ONRSR chief executive Sue McCarrey said that there is always room for improvement.
“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.”
Over the next six months, ACRI will explore and identify existing technology and techniques which improve track worker safety. The research institute will then understand how these practices can be applied locally or modified to fit Australian standards, providing insights into how operators can implement the approaches.
RISSB CEO Deb Spring said that the investigation would take a comprehensive look at safety.
“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.”
Once a survey of international best practices is complete, ACRI will develop a database of track worker safety technology based on international case studies. A final report based on local stakeholder engagement will enumerate the best options for the Australian rail industry.
ACRI chief executive Andrew Meier said the organisation was proud to work with RISSB and ONRSR on the project.
“Trusted information made readily available is vital to rail decision making,” he said.