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Australasian rail association issues draft of fatigue management code


Railroads the world over continue to explore ways to fight worker fatigue. In the land down under, The Australasian Railway Association’s (ARA) mission is to codify fatigue-fighting best practices. Last week, ARA issued the first draft of "National Code of Practice for Fatigue Management" for member comment.

"This is a transport industry first, and shows the rail industry’s determination to lead the way in safe working practices in the transport sector," said Bryan Nye, ARA chief executive officer, in a prepared statement.

The code is designed to provide the Australasian rail industry with a best-practice standard for rail-worker fatigue management and control. In July, the commonwealth of Australia made fatigue code development the rail industry’s responsibility. Part of ARA’s charter is to broaden the code to apply across all rail operations.

"In reviewing and developing the codes, we quickly became aware that the vast majority of companies had already implemented safe working practice guidelines, so it has not been too difficult an exercise to integrate the best of these to establish a consistent national approach," Nye said, adding that passenger rail is five times safer and freight rail 28 times safer than vehicles that travel over the highway, according to statistics published in The Australia Transport Safety Bureau’s 2003 annual review.

Even so, the industry won’t "rest on its laurels," Nye said. ARA plans to develop and publish additional codes on a range of safety issues, including fitness, drugs and alcohol.

"In taking this lead, we welcome other sectors in the transport industry to adopt the standards pioneered in the rail industry," Nye said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/14/2003