New policy will help drive common rail safety standards

Monday, 06 July, 2009

Australia's Transport Ministers have recently unanimously voted to approve a policy and process for regulators to recognise industry-developed rail safety standards as ‘good practice’.

The agreed mechanism will improve the take-up of national standards across the rail sector. Common standards reduce costs where freight moves between different rail operations in the supply chain.

Previously, the rail industry had to ‘prove’ their standards were robust on a case-by-case basis.

“This is a great example of co-regulation working successfully in the rail industry,” said General Manager–Safety and Environment Tim Eaton.

The National Transport Commission developed the National Policy Statement for the Recognition of Industry Developed Standards for Rail Safety through consultation with industry, unions and rail safety regulators. The document can be downloaded from www.ntc.gov.au/filemedia/Reports/RecognofIndustDeveptstandrdsrail.pdf.

Rail safety is based on the principle of co-regulation where safety risks are managed by industry through accreditation, including the use of technical standards. In 2007, the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board was established to develop national rail industry standards. Standards Australia owns 29 other rail standards.

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