Safe railways for Australia

Identifying rail safety work – changes from 1 July 2020


26 Jun 2020

Changes to the definitions of rail safety work in the Rail Safety National Law will take effect from 1 July 2020 (except in Western Australia). This follows the work of the National Transport Commission and agreement of State and Territory Ministers in November 2019.

The aim of the amendments was to ensure the definition of ‘rail safety work’ aligns with the objects of the RSNL, captures only work that could pose a risk to railway operations, current or future, and clearly distinguishes between risk from the work and risk to the person performing the work.

The main changes are to section 8(1)(f) and help ensure that workers who may be exposed to the risk of moving rolling stock are identified as undertaking rail safety work, regardless of the work they are undertaking ‘on or about rail infrastructure or associated works or equipment’. This excludes pedestrians and other visitors, who are not undertaking this work.

Supporting changes to ONRSR’s Guideline ‘Identifying Rail Safety Work under the RSNL’ were available for consultation over the four-week period of 29 April 2020 to 27 May 2020, and a number of submissions were received.

Thank you to those who provided feedback. In response to this feedback, the guidance was further clarified in parts and additional examples included. The final version of the Guideline is now available on our website here.

Email: