CAROLYN WALSH, Chief Executive of the NSW Government’s Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator
While problems with rail safety in NSW have declined over the last decade, more needs to be done in areas such as worksite protection, says a NSW Government transport safety executive.
Carolyn Walsh, Chief Executive of the NSW Government’s Independent Transport Safety and Reliability Regulator says the risk of a Waterfall-style accident has been substantially reduced.
Seven people died in an accident near Waterfall in NSW in 2003, when the driver lost control of the train after suffering a heart attack, resulting in a special commission of inquiry.
“The introduction of vigilance controls in all CityRail trains, improved health assessment standards across the industry significantly reduces the risk of that accident happening (again),” Ms Walsh says in an interview.
“More can be done and CityRail is trialling an automatic train protection system to see whether that can result in further safety improvements.”
Ms Walsh, who is to address the Rail Safety 2009 conference in Sydney on 26-27 February, says ITSRR is concerned about the number of incidents and near misses involving workers as they are working on and around the track.
“I’ll be focusing on the trend in work site incidents over the past decade, what our international research has been showing in relation to good worksite protection practices internationally, and what needs to be done in terms of our compliance strategy to try and improve those outcomes on and around track.”
She says there has been a very significant improvement in the focus on rail safety in NSW and right across the country.
“What we’ve been particularly focusing on is an improvement in rail operator safety management systems.” RailCorp, the major rail operator, has experienced a significant improvement, she says.
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