Railway Accident Investigation Guidelines for Rail Transport Operators Police and Emergency Services Personnel


The first persons arriving at a railway accident site can render valuable assistance to minimise injury and loss of life, reduce property loss through damage, and prevent loss of clues and evidence that can identify the factors that contributed to the accident.

Often Police and Emergency Services and representatives of the Railway Network Owner and/or Railway Operator are the first trained personnel to arrive at railway accident sites. In addition, supervisory officers coordinate response and recovery from locations off-site. These guidelines have been prepared by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to assist these people to understand better the essential procedures and the requirements of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act).

The ATSB has jurisdiction to investigate rail accidents on the Defined Interstate Railway Network (DIRN). Before exercising its jurisdiction, the ATSB will assess each accident on the DIRN to determine whether or not it will conduct an investigation. The participation of other parties in the ATSB investigation will be to the extent necessary to enable all the underlying factors of a rail safety occurrence to be determined in accordance with the TSI Act.

In addition to general information relating to railway accident sites, a checklist has been included with this booklet to guide response personnel and supervisory officers. The checklist should assist personnel in undertaking the essential actions in an environment that can easily become disorganised.

As soon as possible after receiving a report of a rail safety occurrence, the ATSB will advise relevant parties whether or not the ATSB will investigate. If there is to be an investigation, the ATSB will liaise with other parties such as the designated accident site coordinator to ensure that evidence is effectively secured or recorded, pending an ATSB investigator's arrival on site. The ATSB undertakes to allow restoration of railway operations as soon as possible once the accident site has been examined and evidence collected.

Type: Safety Education Material
Series number: 3
Publication date: 3 September 2010
ISBN: 978-1-921164-71-2
Related: First responders
Last update 07 April 2014
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