HRWL Exemptions – 2 down, 4 to go

There is more good news on the Worksafe High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) exemption front.   ATHRA finally have confirmation in writing from Worksafe Vic that HRWLs are NOT required in Victoria for railway steam locomotives transporting the public.

The relevant section in the regulations is:

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 –  see below
Schedule 4—Pressure equipment for which high risk work licence is not required 
Regulation 130 
3. Steam locomotive boilers used for public rail transport.

Those Victorian T&H operators who have HRWL requirements in their SMS would be advised to take this part out as ONRSR will audit against your SMS – and not against the exemption in the Act.

An ATHRA Steam Fireman or Steam Drivers certificate of competency is clearly recognised by ONRSR nationally as sufficient qualification for those RSW roles without the need for any Worksafe HRWL.

2 states down (WA and Victoria) – 4 to go. (Exemption applications have been lodged in all states)

FYI – correspondence received from Worksafe below


From: []
Sent: Tuesday, 27 November 2018 2:11 PM
To: Frank Hussey
Subject: RE: Application by ATHRA for HRWL exemption Ref H18/00030


In response to your recent query, What is  the meaning of “public railways” in Regulation 130 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, I have been advised that this regulation when read in its entirety refers to the boiler only that is used to provide the steam for a locomotive steam engine, used on railways for transporting the public, which is considered pressure equipment for which a high risk work licence is not required under the Victorian OHS Regulations 2017.

Kindest regards,

Senior Licensing Officer
Tel/ 1800 136 089 or 9641 1444

Head Office, 1 Malop Street
Geelong VIC 3220


Changes to RSW definitions

This is an information update to T&H operators on the status of proposed changes to Rail Safety National Law (RSNL) definitions of Rail Safety Workers (RSWs)

On Friday last week, the RSNL Maintenance Group met and considered an industry-developed proposal to narrow the definition of Rail Safety Work (RSW).

At this meeting, the ARA tabled the attached proposal which was developed with the industry reps on the RSNL Maintenance Group (Lindsay Holt, Laing O’Rourke; Danny Harnedy, Aurizon; Karlie Southwood, GoldLinq; Frank Hussey, ATHRA; Todd Bentley, MTM; John Gibbon, BHP and Sandra Wilson-Ryke, now David Bainbridge, ARTC).

2. Rail Industry Rail Safety Work Definition Amendment Proposal

1. Rail Industry Proposal Paper – definition of rail safety work (002)

Essentially,  agreement was sought on the following principles, that the definition of RSW should:

  • be based on the task or function being undertaken,
  • focus only on those who have a direct impact on rail safety operations, and
  • not be based on location.

To implement the above principles, a number of options were proposed:

  1. Removing the link to location as a determinant of RSW (through Clause 8 1 f of the RSNL)
  2. Reinforcing the need for Rail Safety Workers to have a direct impact on the safety of rail operations
  3. The identification of tasks/functions not classified as RSW
  4. Supporting any changes with guidance materials and industry education
  5. Case-by-case exemptions from ONRSR

I’m pleased to advise that the NTC, ONRSR, State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments all agreed change is required and were supportive of exploring the ARA and industry proposed solutions.

For T&H operators in particular, the changes proposed were structured to try and address the often intermittent/casual participation of voluntary workers undertaking roles such as workshop maintenance and track maintenance

In terms of next steps, the NTC will develop a consultation paper that explores the options tabled (considering the pros/cons of each, potential legislative impacts etc) as well as a few other concepts agreed at the meeting. The NTC has proposed releasing its discussion paper in February 2019 (at the earliest) for public consultation.

Engaging the Next generation of Volunteers

The UK All parliamentary group on Heritage rail have released a report on engaging the next generation of young people on Heritage railways.  It is a document worth reading and considering for each of your organisations.  There are many learnings that we can directly apply to the T&H sector in Australia.

The document is available here Volunteering – Young People Attraction and Engagement

For more information on UK Volunteering in Heritage Rail  you can contact the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) via their website –

NSW – Transport Heritage Grants

Recipients of this year’s Transport Heritage Grants were announced at a special ceremony held at the Museum of Sydney on Saturday 27th October 2018.

The awards were presented by THNSW Chair Rob Mason and THNSW CEO Andrew Moritz.  Transport Minister Andrew Constance also sent a video message of support for the recipients.

The evening offered a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers across NSW and to congratulate the successful recipients.

The Transport Heritage Grants are a Transport for NSW initiative, developed by Transport Heritage NSW and administered by the Royal Australian Historical Society.

The THGP supports not for profit organisations with a heritage focus across NSW.  Projects funded help conserve and restore significant transport heritage assets and objects, as well as educate the community about the history of transport in NSW.

This year’s grants awarded more than $180,000 to 11 different volunteer-run organisations in 11 different local government areas.  For more information on the successful applicants see: 2018 – Stream 3 Grants Summary

ATHRA Vic members meeting – 22nd Nov

The next ATHRA Vic members meeting will be held at 6pm on the 22nd of November as per the previous ATR schedule (4th Thursday, every 3rd month).  The venue is still the meeting room of the Melbourne Tramway Museum in the historic Hawthorn Tram depot.
It is intended to expand the discussion at these meetings with guest speakers and for the November meeting we have Michael Leaney to talk to us about the benefits of T&H  railways maintaining a connection with the current Victorian Tourism bodies .
Michael was until recently the long serving president of the Walhalla Goldfields Railway and the driving force behind their successful restoration of the line.  He is now a local councillor and the Tourism representative on the Victorian PTV Tourist and Heritage Railway Advisory Committee.
In addition to Michaels presentation, there will be:
  • an update on the activities of various ATHRA working groups – Training and Assessment, Insurance, Accreditation/SMS, RISSB codes of practice, etc.
  • an update on discussions from the T&H Railway Advisory Committee
  • an update on recent Victorian T&H railway grant funding announcements
We can then finish with a general question and answer session and identify items of general interest for future meeting speakers
The meeting is open to all ATHRA member organisations and their members and we encourage you to share this invitation with your colleagues.  If you have any questions, please contact the Victorian ATHRA board member/coordinator, Steve Strangward on or 0419 358 975.