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Jun 30, 2021COVID19 Update

Members are advised, at the most recent Sydney Trains Train Crew COVID-19 Taskforce meeting of 28 June 2021, Locomotive Division Representatives and HSRs discussed recent instances of confirmed COVID-19 cases travelling on Sydney Trains services and the processes surrounding identification of “Close” and “Casual” contacts.

Sydney Trains advised of their position that Train Crew travelling within a crew compartment are “safe” and summarily excluded from consideration as either “close” or “casual” contacts. Sydney Trainsfurther confirmed this position in Communications sent to staff on 29 June 2021.

Sydney Trains has not consulted with the Locomotive Division or workgroup HSRs in arriving at this determination. Additionally, Sydney Trains’ position does not consider the practicalities of how Drivers perform their duties or the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant.

Of particular concern is the practice of considering specific train services “hotspots” to the exclusion of platforms, despite the identified services starting and/or terminating at that platform.

Operational context dictates that Drivers are required to be in position to undertake operational duties and therefore are exposed to a similar risk as passengers which have identified as “casual” contacts by NSW Health. Drivers cannot “teleport” to their trains. It is inappropriate to not consider specific workplaces and specific work practices as they relate to Train Drivers. Decisions made without input from those with appropriate understanding of the technical and non-technical elements of the dynamic workplace, promotes an acute latent failure with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The Locomotive Division has now formally requested an immediate review of the bow-tie risk assessment. This assessment must include HSR’s, and the Locomotive Division and the outcomes of this risk assessment should inform Sydney Trains’ and Transport NSW’s position on managing exposure of Drivers.

The Locomotive Division reminds Members to remain vigilant regarding COVID-19 safety measures within their workplace. Should Members have any issue with physical distancing or access to supplies of masks, sanitiser, wipes etc, please advise your local Delegate, HSR and Manager.

Additionally, Members should consider keeping a record of their working (run numbers and times) for their safety should there be any further instances of COVID-19 on the network.

Unlike Sydney Trains, who have engaged with the Division regularly, NSW Trains has only arranged their first meeting with the Division this Friday, one week since the new NSW Health restrictions where introduced.

Initial contact with NSW Trains had to be made by the Division over the weekend because of their silence.

Members will be advised and kept updated of any outcome and should always if they feel unsure of the situation conduct a personal risk assessment and advise their local manager of their concerns and or call the NSW Health COVID Hotline on 137788.

Stay safe in these ever-changing times.

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