ONRSR safety report 2017/18 – T&H

ONRSR has released their safety report for 2017/18

Some of the more relevant items to T&H sector can be found here –  tandh pages from 17789-onrsr-safety-report 201718

In particular we draw your attention to their focus on the TOURIST AND HERITAGE SECTOR, SAFETY MANAGEMENT CAPABILITY.  This will be further reinforced by ONRSR during 2019 in all states.

For the full report go to https://www.onrsr.com.au/news-and-events/news-stories/onrsr-releases-rail-safety-report-2017-2018

ATHRA continues to work with ONRSR on the development of improved Safety Management Systems for our sector and an improved understanding of our collective responsibilities in the running of our T&H organisations.

For more information contact your state ATHRA board member.

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: licensing@worksafe.vic.gov.au [mailto:licensing@worksafe.vic.gov.au]
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 – www.hra.uk.com

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 vic@athra.asn.au or 0419 358 975.

ATHRA Training update

ATHRA members are now invited to apply for the Steam Locomotive Driver and the Steam Locomotive Fireman’s, Diesel driver and fireman and Rail Motor Drivers Training courses – by Email to Steve Deveson, ATHRA National Training and Assessment Coordinator MOB.0407528197
EMAIL: training@athra.asn.au

The Training and Assessment Strategy documents and the learning pathways listed below  (and linked on our website: training@ATHRA.asn.au) details the process

o    ATHRA Steam Driver Heritage railway

o    ATHRA Steam Fireman Heritage railway

o    ATHRA Diesel Driver Heritage Railway

o    ATHRA Rail Motor driver heritage railway

o    ATHRA Steam locomotive driver learning pathway

o    ATHRA Diesel driver learning pathway

o    ATHRA Rail Motor diver learning pathway

These are all summarised in the single ATHRA Training Matrix and Learning pathways document.

Recently the Victorian based Association of Tourist Railways (ATR) has merged into ATHRA and no longer exists.  Amongst its membership and functions transferred to ATHRA is the excellent ATR accreditation process which on a state wide basis ensured consistency in qualifications and competence for all operating staff, enabling mutual recognition of competencies between operators. This was unique to Victoria and now ATHRA have adopted it to work on a National basis.

The ATR administration and documentation associated with accreditation have now been adapted to the ATHRA training program. Documents initiating  applications by T&H operators for assessment of ATHRA training for individuals, and applications for individuals wanting to be assessors are now available.  ATHRA competency certificates are now available and being fully AQF based are recognised by the Office of the National Rail Regulator (ONRSR).   ATHRA have now appointed assessors in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, Qld and SA  There is a charge to the Operator of $50 per assessment ($40 per reassessment).    ATHRA also now have a training records officer to manage all the documentation to ONRSR standards, including the competency records.

Negotiations with WorkSafe Australia are continuing with the aim of having the ATHRA steam driver and fireman competencies replace the need for BS, BA and ES high risk work licences (HRWL’s).  Our training and assessment documentation is being externally reviewed to ensure that it as good as or better than the current Worksafe material. Once the parties are satisfied that it is the case  it will then be a matter of Worksafe adopting the same AQF standards as ONRSR.


Assessor Insurance

Professional Indemnity Cover for ATHRA Assessors

ATHRA has been successful in negotiating terms with Aon Insurance brokers to have our assessors for T&H Rail Safety Worker roles included on our Protector Liability Insurance cover which includes Management Liability and Professional Liability cover.  Please note that this cover is different to Public Liability Insurance cover.

Until recently this could have been a very expensive exercise for ATHRA however Aon has come to the party to ensure ATHRA and its assessors are covered at no extra cost to ATHRA.

ATHRA assessors are now covered worldwide (apart from the USA) and now have the peace of mind they have insurance to cover them.

This further highlights the benefit of being an ATHRA member and utilising the training and assessment packages and external  ATHRA assessors to satisfy the requirements of ONRSR at a very minimal cost to the member organisation

For more information on the ATHRA Training and assessment programme, email ATHRA training coordinator

ONRSR Rail Safety Data reporting review

National rail safety data to be overhauled
(ARA Contact Emma Woods and ATHRA contact Vicki Ducrow)
Rail safety data is undergoing a national review. Industry has been unsatisfied with current rail safety data information and the data currently reported to ONRSR does not meet industry or ONRSR requirements. Recognising this, the ARA, industry, ONRSR and other key safety stakeholders are wiping the slate clean to establish a fresh list of rail safety data for collection nationally. This process aims to reduce the current reporting burden on industry and provides industry with the opportunity to table its rail safety data requirements. The overarching strategy has been approved by the ARA and ONRSR Boards and is available here. A working group is developing a list of rail safety data. This will be considered at the Safety Managers Group meeting in October.  ATHRA will be providing input to the working group via Vicki Ducrow (PBR Safety Manager)

The attached letter went out to all ATHRA state delegates calling for submissions – see ONRSR Data Strategy Letter 15.6.2018

If you still wish to make a submission then contact Vicki ASAP for more information.



The ATHRA migration

Another major milestone in the growth of the ATHRA national sector body occurred on Thursday 23rd August when the ATR Vic organisation voted unanimously to wind up and transfer all assets to ATHRA. See here – 23.08.18 Special General Meeting (ATR Wind Up) Minutes

That’s not the end of a Victorian voice – in fact far from it, as the Victorian members will still meet just as often as before but without the duplication and expense of running a separate organisation, so we can focus our efforts on addressing the real issues facing T&H groups in Victoria, but also having the support of others from around the country, through the ATHRA specialist Working Groups.

The ATHRA Vic coordinator is Steve Strangward and the last ATR committee will form the initial ATHRA Vic committee/working group. The next ATHRA state meeting will be at 6pm  on Thursday 22nd November at the Hawthorn Tram Depot – we are planning a full information program for the evening with a visiting presenter.  All interested people are invited to attend.  The ATHRA Vic committee can be contacted on vic@athra.asn.au