NTC updates rail safety workers standard

New standard offers rail operators a “robust” system for monitoring and assessing worker health

NTC updates rail safety workers standard
The standard outlines the responsibilities of rail operators, rail safety workers and medical professionals.


The National Transport Commission (NTC) has updated the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers for the first time since the rules came into effect in January 2013.

The revised standard includes minor changes to the medical criteria to bring it in line with the recently updated Assessing Fitness to Drive guidelines that define medical standards for driver licensing.

The standard provides guidance for rail transport operators to meet the guidelines set out in the Rail Safety National Law regarding worker health and safety.

It also contains medical criteria for the use of health professionals to perform health assessments of rail safety workers.

NTC says the changes to the medical criteria are based on research and expert opinion on the impact of chronic medical conditions on the fitness of rail safety workers.

The revised edition also includes:

  • improved guidance on the purpose and intent of triggered health assessments
  • flowcharts to support decision-making and fairer management of rail safety workers for seizures and substance misuse
  • additional information about the relationship between authorised health professionals and general practitioners
  • more guidance on diabetes screening to reduce unnecessary testing of workers
  • improved definitions of visual fields loss to help health professionals in their decision-making process.

"We have worked closely with health professionals, rail unions, rail safety regulators and industry to update the standard so that it incorporates the latest expertise, making it even more practical for users," NTC acting chief executive Geoff Allan says.

"Rail workers play a vital role in keeping Australia’s rail system safe.

"This standard helps to ensure that these workers are fit for duty and receive any necessary monitoring and support they may need."

For more details, check out the FAQs on the NTC website.

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