In a move aimed at cutting red tape for rail employees and employers, the Australasian Railway Association have launched an industry led solution to managing worker competence that complies with national legislative requirements.
By law, every contractor and staff member working on the network must be able to provide proof of competency. The Rail Industry Worker competency management system and the resultant card have been designed to provide a single point of reference for competency management in the rail industry.
The program commenced as an initiative of the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and RailCorp to address these requirements under the Rail Safety Act. The opportunity to progress a competence management system for contractors evolved.
Building on and replacing the Rail Safety Worker program which was implemented in 2012, the industry new industry led solution has been designed to meet national regulatory requirements in the most efficient way.
ARA CEO Bryan Nye said the new system will be easier to use.
“Developed by the rail industry for the rail industry, the card will be much quicker and easier to check worker competency on-site, allowing employers piece of mind and allowing employees to get on with their work,” Nye said.
“Registration is simple; details are entered online with current documentation uploaded. The information is always live, so it can be easily updated at any time,” Nye explained. Once the documents have been uploaded and identity confirmed through a 100 point identification check at approved Australia Post outlets, the Rail Industry Worker card arrives via registered post.
Using the latest smart technology, cards can be scanned by smart phones and tablets to securely access the appropriate data. All information coded on the anti-counterfeit card is kept in a secure database. Full functionality of the cards will be progressively rolled out over the coming months.
The ARA said the although registration for rail safety contractors remains the priority for the initial phase of the program, the Rail Industry Worker system has the inbuilt capacity to extend to other areas of the rail industry. Supported by the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board, the ARA said new system is set to play a vital role in the future of the rail industry in Australia.
Workforce development manager for ARA, Vikki Stewart told LMH the new system has been well-received in the industry.
“The launch on 6 march was well received and support for ‘Rail Industry Worker’ is growing with 2,108 companies and 18,671 workers now registered on the system,” Stewart said.
Stewart said that participating organisations were meeting regularly to achieve greater outcomes for the system.
“The industry led governance committee is meeting monthly and collaboration has been very positive; with consideration given to the requirement of each state and organisation to achieve outcomes that will work for all parties across Australia.”