Safe railways for Australia

Safety Bulletin: Accreditation scope

14 December 2017

ONRSR received an anonymous tip off regarding some equipment being used to move rolling stock – namely forklift propelled shunt tractors – that is outside the scope of the accreditation of a rail transport operator. It is ONRSR’s strong view that the use of this machinery without appropriate training and procedures supported by robust risk assessments is inherently dangerous, and could cause an immediate risk to safety.

Further enquiries in relation to the tip revealed the operator in question had neither the necessary work instructions nor required engineering assessments in place to support the operation of this equipment.

While ONRSR is currently unaware of any other operators around Australia using similar equipment all rail safety officers across the country have been made aware of this incident and will be vigilant in ensuring any such equipment is only used if it is within the parameters of an operator’s accreditation. Under Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), the issuing of prohibition notices and, in serious cases, other enforcement measures including the suspension or revocation of accreditation may apply if operators are found to be working outside the scope of ONRSR accreditation.

ONRSR is reminding all rail transport operators of the fundamental safety risk posed by either deliberately or unintentionally working outside the scope of accreditation. In the past 12 months ONRSR has issued notices in response to the performance of duties or the operation of rolling stock for which an operator is not accredited.

It is a timely reminder that it is a condition of accreditation by ONRSR that operators demonstrate their competence and capacity to manage risks to safety associated with their operations. Operators working outside the scope of their accreditation are exposing themselves and others to unacceptable risks – the management of which are not covered by their safety management system.

Remember an accredited operator may, at any time, apply to ONRSR for a variation of their accreditation.

All rail transport operators must ensure that they do not undertake any railway operations, including the operation of forklift propelled shunt tractors, without the appropriate accreditation in accordance with the provisions of the RSNL. Moreover, rail transport operators and rail safety workers have clear safety duties under the Act to ensure the safety of their operations, and the safety of themselves and other workers. If at any time you are unclear on the specific scope of the accreditation held please contact your local office immediately.

For further information on the accreditation process and variations to accreditation click here.