Safe railways for Australia

Notifiable occurrences

Accredited rail transport operators must provide ONRSR with an immediate verbal report of any Category A notifiable occurrence or other prescribed incident which occurs in relation to their accredited railway operations.

Category A notifiable occurrences and other prescribed incidents must be reported by phoning 1800 430 888 (24 hours/ 7 days).

*Please note this number is only for the immediate reporting of notifiable Category A occurrences.  If you would like to report a safety concern, please contact the ONRSR Office in your state.*

From 1 July 2019 operators are required to report immediately to ONRSR, instead of the ATSB. A separate report to the ATSB is not required. For more information and a downloadable quick guide, see the Changes to Immediate Reporting Requirements.

Notifiable occurrences

A notifiable occurrence means an accident or incident associated with railway operations and are categorised as follows:

  • Category A - the most serious, which must be immediately verbally reported by phoning ONRSR on 1800 430 888 and followed up with a written report to ONRSR within 72 hours.
  • Category B - which must be reported in writing only to ONRSR within 72 hours.

The specific occurrences that must be reported are specified under regulation 57 of the Rail Safety National Law National Regulations.

Written reports of Category A and B notifiable occurrences must be submitted within 72 hours of the occurrence via the ONRSR Portal. Refer to the Reporting Requirements for Notifiable Occurrences for guidance on what information should be included in the report.

Prescribed Incidents

Drug and alcohol testing following an immediately reportable occurrence is mandated for all occurrences that are prescribed incidents.

Prescribed incidents are described under regulation 28 and have caused or have the potential to cause serious injury, death or significant property damage. They may be Category A or Category B occurrences. For guidance on which occurrences are prescribed incidents, and therefore trigger mandatory testing see the Drug and Alcohol: Requirements for Rail Transport Operators fact sheet.

It is mandatory for accredited rail transport operators to:

  • Immediately report prescribed incidents to ONRSR  by phoning 1800 430 888, and
  • Drug and alcohol test rail safety workers involved in a prescribed incident, unless:
    • the drug and alcohol testing has been conducted by ONRSR or the police, or
    • the operator has been notified by ONRSR that drug and alcohol testing is not required, or
    • there is a reasonable excuse for not doing so

Whilst prescribed incidents include many occurrences that are already reportable as Category A, they also include certain Category B occurrences, such as certain Signals Passed at Danger (SPADs) and Light Rail or Tram Authority Exceeded (LRTAEs) occurrences, as well as serious breaches of network rules (specifically in relation to track work procedural breaches) - please refer to the document Prescribed Incidents for examples.


The requirements for prescribed incidents in NSW (regulation 28 (2)) are unchanged and do not apply in Western Australia. ONRSR will continue to undertake post-incident testing following Category A occurrences in these jurisdictions.

Related documents

Last updated: 18 December 2020