Safe railways for Australia

Safety Bulletin: Labour hire and fatigue management – the pitfalls for operators

3 July 2017

Rail transport operators and rail safety workers are being reminded of the potential for breaches of Rail Safety National Law when managing their hours of work – particularly those employed via contractors and/or labour hire companies. 

ONRSR has recently become aware that some rail safety workers are deliberately avoiding the legal requirement to comply with rail transport operator’s fatigue risk management programs as they pursue work with multiple operators and labour hire companies.

It is expected that there is in place clear, agreed processes for the monitoring of fatigue between operators and their contractors and/or labour hire companies to avoid the dangerous practice of casual workers taking on excessive shifts contrary to the rail transport operator’s fatigue risk management program.

The national regulator also strongly advises that operators have an active monitoring program and do not rely solely on written timesheets or pre-work brief declarations when seeking to safeguard their employees, contractors and themselves against the risk posed to safe operations by fatigued workers.

Fatigue management is a crucial element of a robust safety management system.

A range of fatigue management resources are available on the ONRSR website and if you have any questions or would like to discuss this and related issues further, please contact your local ONRSR office.