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Transport Ministers: Fatigue and drug and alcohol management need more work

May 27, 2011News

The National Rail Safety Regulator (NRSR) looks to be established by the beginning of 2013 after a meeting of Australia’s transport ministers last week.

Before the national law can be finalised, however, there are still a number of policy issues that need more work. Fatigue management and drug and alcohol testing in the rail industry are two of these key policy areas.

The RTBU is keen to see a method for drug and alcohol testing that is less invasive than the current NSW system that uses urine testing. Taking saliva swabs, on the other hand, are proven to be an effective way to test for drug and alcohol impairment – and these are already being used in some states.

The NRSR would replace Australia’s seven rail safety regulators and a national rail safety law would replace each state’s existing approach to rail safety.

NSW has some of the highest standards of safety in the country and the RTBU is concerned that this move could mean watering down safety measures if they are brought into line with lower standards in other states.

The RTBU will be advocating strongly on these two issues as policy for the NRSR is finalised.