Whitepaper: Rail engineering and design safety


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Australian legislation now requires designers & project managers to demonstrate competence in EDSM as part of their mandatory licensing as a rail safety worker. This course will not only underpin the demonstration of the necessary skills, but provide unique insights & quality, practical guidance. For more information about the course and to book your place, please visit http://www.iired.com.au/edsmcourse

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Whitepaper: Rail engineering and design safety

  1. 1. Whitepaper Rail engineering and design safety management: Australia's bid for safer rail networks Introduction Federal and state governments continue to invest heavily in rail improvement projects in a bid to boost both freight and passenger networks across Australia. These include the $8.3 billion North West Rail Link in Sydney and Victoria's 'The Freight State' framework, which aims to deliver improved efficiency, better connectedness and productivity growth. Other states have followed suit, with the development of rail networks offering a range of benefits such as reducing road congestion, lowering carbon emissions and enhancing access to rural and remote locations. This has proved particularly useful for Australia's agricultural- and resources-based industries. Safety is also often highlighted as a major advantage of rail. Australasian Railway Association figures show there are 1,500 fatalities and 30,000 injuries on the country's roads each year, costing the economy $35 billion annually. On the other hand, railways record 40 deaths a year and 130 injuries over the same period. Despite this, the country's federal and state governments are keen to improve rail safety even further and provide a regulatory framework that can be consistently implemented nationwide. In keeping with this, the Council of Australian Governments agreed to establish the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR), which commenced duties on January 20 2013. This whitepaper will explore the challenges of rail engineering design safety management in the context of regulatory pressures. It will also outline the advantages of investing in sufficient training to prepare for these changes. ONRSR aims and objectives The ONRSR has jurisdiction in states and territories that have enacted the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), which currently includes South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. The body will also have responsibility in Queensland, the ACT, Victoria and Western Australia when these areas introduce the RSNL. This is expected to occur by the end of 2014. Among the aims and objectives of the ONRSR are:     Resolving inconsistent regulatory practices between states and territories Implementing a single national accreditation for rail transport operators Removing duplication of auditing, monitoring and inspection processes Improving access to resources and specialist knowledge for better decision-making and safety investigations www.iired.com.au/edsmcourse
  2. 2. "We prefer to achieve outcomes by providing support and collaboration on risk-based safety improvement initiatives, to encourage industry to build the capacity to improve its performance voluntarily and collectively," the office said in its Safety Improvement Policy. What does this mean for the industry? One change that will affect rail organisations is that the definition of a safety critical worker for the industry is being expanded. Back-room staff, designers and project leaders will now need to have competency in rail engineering design safety management. Dr Howard Parkinson, a chartered engineer with over 20 years' experience in the international railway industry, said there will also be a number of other improvements. "From the point of view of the regulator, it should stop duplication. You won't have projects in NSW with a completely different set of procedures to those in Queensland. You've also got economies of scale with administration and management," he stated. The evolution of design and safety management in Australia's rail industry will require organisations to take a more robust approach to their risk management capabilities. This includes not only measuring direct risk in terms of fatalities per annum, but also reputational damage and financial burdens inflicted by penalties due to safety failures. "Risk has two components," Parkinson explained. "The probability that something bad will happen, and the consequence of that event." Organisations also have a responsibility to their stakeholders, he added, whether internal or external, such as highway authorities, local communities and end users. Rail engineering and design safety management training (EDSM) Effectively overcoming these issues to deliver a well designed, safe rail network may require additional training to strengthen standard competencies. Parkinson is a course director on an EDSM training course and he said additional learning helps to underpin necessary skills, while offering unique insights and practical guidance with industry experts. "We define what we mean by design then we look at what design entails," he explained. "We examine the lifecycle that an asset undergoes and how design impinges on that lifecycle." "You set your requirements, you establish your system architecture, you create a high-level design concept and then you produce a detailed design." The course takes a common-sense approach, focusing primarily on safety risk and how this affects business risk. Attendees also learn the importance of involving stakeholders as early in the design lifecycle as possible. www.iired.com.au/edsmcourse
  3. 3. This helps prevent having to rectify problems later in the process when it is likely to be more costly to do so. The training also covers the difference between systems safety and OH&S; how they complement each other and where the two areas overlap. Here are just some of the topics that the course expands upon:     Understanding risk: measurements, definitions and standards Initiating EDSM: configuration and requirements management, safety records, examples of EDSM in practice Case studies: Real-life examples of accidents and how they were managed Analysing legislation: The Rail Safety Act and the 'designer' as a 'rail safety worker'. Outcomes EDSM training can provide individuals working in the rail safety sector with the robust skills and knowledge they require to deliver quality railway networks. "For leaders, it enables them to manage the project more efficiently. It also enables people to be an educated client," Parkinson said. "By that, I mean if they are dealing with manufacturers who are selling them complex products they know the right questions to ask." The course can also help people who are working in rail safety, but have come from different industries and therefore lack adequate background knowledge. Other benefits include:      Additional value creation during project management processes Better allocation of resources Improved management of hazards More systematic and streamlined operations Appropriate application of industry techniques and standards "It gives you a good understanding of the whole subject area and encourages an appreciation of all the current railway standards. "The course helps you get a feeling of what processes are necessary and which ones are unnecessary for optimal targeting of available resources," Parkinson concluded. If you would like more information on rail engineering and design safety management training or other industry-related courses, please contact Informa Australia. www.iired.com.au/edsmcourse