Why are safety management systems essential in the Rail Industry? 

Permits to work in the Railway Industry

Ready to investigate permits to work in the Railway Industry?

Whether you’re a business looking to improve compliance, or a Railway Industry Worker (RIW) wanting to learn more about worker requirements, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a permit to work in the railway industry?

Permits to work in the Railway Industry are multidimensional. There are multiple permits to work for Railway Industry Workers (RIW), which cover Work Health & Safety (WHS).

These kinds of permits are usually issued online by the employer, and they help to ensure that everyone is qualified to do their job and has the relevant experience to start work. They record the qualifications, training and experience that makes an individual suited to working in a specific high risk environment. 

They’re known as permits to work, or e-permits to work, and sign an individual off to work on a specific task. They are vital for employers to keep on top of their safety on site, remain compliant and keep their people safe. 

Slightly different to the individual’s work permit, are permits for businesses that are issued by the Railway provider themselves. These give an organisation the approval to carry out said work on the Railway. Then, there are also RIW cards for workers which are set out by the Railway and approve someone to work on a specific railway.

At Beakon, we are primarily concerned with permits to work created by businesses for their workers. We specialise in electronic permits to work systems for businesses operating in the Railway Industry. These systems provide a way for businesses to issue permits to work online to their people.

Railway Industry Tracks

What does a permit to work require in the Railway Industry?

A permit to work in the Railway Industry must detail the works that will be carried out by the individual, the hazards that are present, and the qualifications or training that makes them suitable.

They will need to take into account added risks and hazards that come from working in such a high risk Railway environment.

The permit issued by an employer should include:

  • Applicants name
  • RTO Name, National Provider Code / RTO Number of appropriate training
  • The specific work the applicant is authorised to carried out
  • The time and date of the specific work being carried out
  • Risks or hazards and their control measures 
  • Name and / or signature of both issuer & applicant.
  • Document / Certificate / Number.

To create this permit to work, many businesses opt to use software. Similar to other industries, an online permit to work system will:

  • Issue Permits to Work.
  • Carry out permit approvals.
  • Audit records and deliver permit history access.
  • Work on all devices, including smartphones and tablets.Working on the Railway

Above And Beyond This, Workers Need RIW Cards In Most Cases

While a permit to work will help a business cover their back, often having a Railway industry Worker Card is an essential for any individual working on the Railway. This is a requirement of the individual, but businesses should do everything in their power to check and audit these records to ensure that untrained people never work on the rail network.

The Rail Industry Worker program went live in March 2013 and is owned by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). It complies with national rail safety law by providing proof of competency for every individual working on the railway.

Workers can apply for a RIW card which identifies them as a competent worker. Any employee or contractor working on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), Country Regional Network (CRN), Aurizon and Queensland Rail will all require a Rail Industry Worker (RIW) card.

For businesses operating on Railways that use RIW cards, it is important that you set up your team with RIW cards, as they must be ordered by a Primary Employer. Once this is complete the worker will need to hand over the digital copy of their RIW for you to store. You can also request a physical RIW, but as they are essential documents that need to be kept very safe, digital copies are often best.

Signing off a permit to work

Businesses Also Need A Permit To Work On Railways 

It’s not just individuals and workers who need to consider permits to work when working on Railways. Businesses also need to abide by the permit to work regulations of the individual Railway provider, to ensure that their work is being carried out safely and legally. 

Each state will have their own Railway regulations regarding the permits to work necessary. However most of them concern excavations and working with live equipment. As they are such high risk areas, Railways need businesses to submit permits to work prior to starting.

For example in Victoria, there are strict regulations for third parties working on railways.

Metro Trains, the Melbourne Railway provider states that third parties “must not undertake any excavation/ground disturbance within five (5) metres of a VicTrack Telecommunications Asset without a VicTrack approved Permit To Work”.

They are also limited when working with live equipment. They state that “work must not commence until a Permit to Work Near (PTWN) has been issued to the PTWN holder on site.”

For businesses working in the Railway Industry, it is essential that these forms are completed and filed correctly before work commences. Often, permits to work in the Railway industry will take time to approve, so it is recommended to get them in early and then file them digitally so that they don’t get lost or damaged.

There’s a lot of Permits Needed To Work on the Railway

Long story short, there’s a lot of permits required to work in the Railway industry. Some of the most important ones for employers to know about are the permits to work that grant employees access to work.

Beakon can help you create, audit and file permits to work to keep your business compliant. Are you ready to get started?