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ONRSR uses fatal accident in safety education

ONRSR accident

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (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.

Queensland Rail (QR) was yesterday fined $600,000 after pleading guilty to two charges under Rail Safety National Law arising from a collision between a QR locomotive and a coal train at Westwood, Queensland in June 2021.

The driver of the locomotive was killed in the accident, and two other rail safety workers were injured.

ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator Natalie Pelham said it was important that other operators learned from the circumstances of the accident.

“A key focus for us in bringing these proceedings and reflecting on the outcome is to highlight the safety lessons we can learn from accidents like this one including the preventative actions that operators can take,” she said.

“In the aftermath of the collision, ONRSR issued a safety alert to all rail transport operators, and we are once again urging them to review the risks associated with long end leading operations and consider where the effectiveness of their safety management system may be improved.”

The decision, handed down in the Rockhampton Magistrate’s Court, followed early guilty pleas from QR to the charges of failing to provide safe systems and failure to ensure instructions.

Since the accident ONRSR rail safety officers around the country have been reviewing work undertaken by operators to manage risks associated with the practice of long end leading so far as is reasonably practicable.

“We’ll continue to promote the safety learnings from accidents like this in an effort to ensure that operators take the appropriate action so we don’t see repeat occurrences on the network,” Pelham said.