Whether in Mackay or Monto, rail investigators are on the scene when something goes awry
Whether in Mackay or Monto, rail investigators are on the scene when something goes awry George Smith

Rail investigators to follow new national guidelines

WHETHER it's a misalignment in a metro station or a signalling issue out bush, rail incident investigators will soon follow the same national benchmarks to ensure they do not happen again.

Queensland Professor Bert Biggs, who led the development of a national curriculum for rail incident investigators, said the role of a rail investigator differed across operators and states, ranging from minor incidents to major crashes causing death.

He said the industry had been lacking an accepted standard of minimal training to perform rail incident investigations but the national curriculum - formed through consultation with operators - was now being accredited.

Mr Biggs, from QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland, said the national curriculum included 10 essential competencies such as knowledge of the legislation, regulations, policies and procedures related to gathering and managing evidence.

"Rail incident investigators are involved in incidents such as misaligned station platform stops, signals passed at danger, through to major incidents including the Granville and Waterfall disasters," he said.

"In the country you've got intercity passenger trains and large freight hauling trains. There's always incidents with those that may or may not interfere with humans but all safety breaches must be investigated.

"For too long we have had a varied level of training within the rail industry for rail incident investigators, but this will hopefully change with the introduction of a national curriculum to be delivered through standardised training."

Together with co-authors Dr Tamara Banks and Nathan Dovan, Mr Biggs presented a paper on the new framework at the 5th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics in Krakow in Poland last month.


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