Australia currently has seven rail safety regulators operating across the country. The recent passing of the National Rail Safety Law through the South Australian Parliament marks a historic achievement for the Australian Rail Industry towards a single National Rail Safety Regulator.
Fatigue and Drug & Alcohol are key areas addressed in the new Rail Safety National Law. Whilst New South Wales will continue its current approach to these issues, all other States and Territories are expected to adopt the new national law provisions.
The CRC for Rail Innovation (in conjunction with the ARA and RISSB) has played an important role in supporting the development of a national Industry approach to risk based fatigue management. This approach was based on a CRC research project that identified world class fatigue management practices. The research that was successfully completed in 2011 provided valuable input to the COAG committee charged with formulating the draft national fatigue policy for the NTC and COAG. The key elements of the CRC research involve a shift away from a prescriptive approach to working hours to a more systematic approach based on the principles of risk and safety system management. This material will provide a basis for the development of a RISSB Guideline to assist Industry in the development of fatigue management plans.
David George, CEO, CRC for Rail Innovation recognised the importance of the passing of the National Rail Safety Law and the move towards new National Regulations for key areas like fatigue. David George said “The mission of the CRC for Rail Innovation is to provide the Australasian Rail Industry with practical world class research outcomes”. Our research has made a major contribution towards achieving increased harmonisation of fatigue policy and is an excellent example of research achieving practical outcomes for the rail industry.