Chain of Responsibility - Victorian Reforms - Rail Safety Act

Rail Safety Act

Victoria faced the problem of ageing and inadequate transport legislation which failed to reflect modern policy. During his second reading speech for a new rail safety statute in Victoria, the then Minister for Transport explained that -

"It is now recognised that this legislative framework has not kept pace with contemporary developments in safety regulation ... (T) the legislation does not establish a coherent chain of responsibility for the effective management of rail safety risks. For example, unlike other modern safety legislation, the (current) Act does not identify the key parties or individuals who can control risks and does not impose performance-based safety responsibilities."

As a result the Minister explained that -

"... the Bill now before the House and include the establishment of performance-based rail safety duties for rail operators, managers of rail infrastructure, contractors working on rolling stock or rail infrastructure, and rail safety workers including drivers and maintainers of rolling stock and infrastructure to ensure safety so far as reasonably practicable. This effectively imposes rail safety duties and obligations on each person in the rail industry who is in a position to affect safety and clearly identifies the roles and the safety chain of responsibility between them. The duties emphasise the responsibility of each participant to take steps as far as reasonably practicable to identify hazards and manage risks to safety that are within their control. This includes persons whose influence on safety exists 'upstream', such as persons involved in design, manufacture, maintenance, repair and modification of rail infrastructure and rolling stock."

The Rail Safety Act which emerged from that process therefore imposes a chain of responsibility across all key parties in the rail industry in Victoria who can influence safety outcomes. Accountability at law and sanctions and penalties are allocated according the level of responsibility each party has for creating and managing safety risks. Similar approaches were taken by the Transport Legislation Review in its work which led to new statutes in Victoria in the bus, marine and taxi industries.

Read more about this topic:  Chain Of Responsibility, Victorian Reforms

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