Safe railways for Australia

Rail Safety Week 2020: Regulator warns against complacency

10 Aug 2020

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) is using Rail Safety Week to remind workers, passengers and the general public of the need to remain vigilant on and around trains amid changing operational patterns around the country.    

ONRSR Chief Executive and National Rail Safety Regulator, Sue McCarrey said with some communities returning to pre-COVID-19 routines and others still the subject of restrictions the potential exists for mistakes to be made and complacency to creep in.

“Rail Safety Week falls at a really important time, we have some people returning to work or starting to travel a bit more, and others who will be getting out of routine as their time in lockdown continues. What we are hoping to do is to just remind people of their safety responsibilities,” she said.

“If you work in the rail industry, are interacting with a rail network when traveling or just using a crossing when you are out and about exercising remember the processes, procedures or those daily habits that have kept you safe.”

“It may have been a while since you have been in that situation and when the time comes again to interact with the network, nobody wants a simple mistake to have tragic consequences.”

“This is a key message we want to get across to the industry and the public and one of the many ways we can do this is to support the TrackSAFE Foundation and Rail Safety Week 2020.”

To view Sue McCarrey’s Rail Safety Week #RailSAFE pledge click here

With many sectors forced to cut back or cease operations following the onset of COVID-19 restrictions, as an essential service, the work of ONRSR has gone on throughout 2020.

While the scope of some tasks around the country were amended, the national regulator’s rail safety officers continued conducting regulatory activities and responding to incidents, ensuring that ONRSR had an ongoing and visible presence on both the freight and passenger networks.

“Rail transport is more important than ever, especially in relation to maintaining freight movement across Australia and we need to be there to play our part in making sure safety remains the top priority,” Ms. McCarrey said.

“When circumstances change as dramatically and suddenly as they did, it’s important that the safety management systems and structures that underpin various operations don’t.”

“So, it has been really important that our program of audits and inspections has continued and that we have been there to assist operators when unique situations present themselves.”

ONRSR conducts an annual work program that ensures all of Australia’s 180 plus accredited rail transport operators are the subject of regulatory interactions each year.

The day to day regulatory focus is complemented by a data driven and evidence based national priority program that currently sees an emphasis being put on the rail industry’s performance in relation to track worker safety, level crossing safety, contractor management and control assurance.

For further information on the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator visit