What is REPCON?
REPCON is a voluntary and confidential reporting scheme. REPCON allows any person who has a rail safety concern to report it to the ATSB confidentially. Protection of the reporter’s identity and any individual referred to in the report is a primary element of the scheme.
Who may make a REPCON report?
Any person may report a reportable safety concern. This would include:
(a) Any person involved in the Rail Industry. An example would be an employee or contractor of a rail transport operator who may have reported a matter under the operator’s SMS but does not believe it will be properly dealt with. If may also be where that person has not reported under the SMS because they believe they will suffer retribution; or
(b) a member of the travelling public.
What may be reported with REPCON?
Each of the following concerns (reportable safety concerns) in relation to the safety of railway operations to which the Regulations apply are examples of what may be reported under REPCON. The list is not exhaustive:
(a) an incident or circumstance that affects or might affect the safety of railway operations;
(b) a procedure, practice or condition that a reasonable person would consider endangers, or, if not corrected, would endanger, the safety of railway operations,
(i) poor training or behaviour that is not consistent with the rail transport operator’s safety management system; or
(ii) insufficient qualifications or experience of employees of a rail transport operator; or
(iii) scheduling or rostering that contributes to an unacceptably high risk of fatigue of employees of a rail transport operator; or
(iv) a rail transport operator bypassing safety procedures because or operational or commercial pressures; or
(v) inadequate railway station or terminal facilities for safe railway operations; or
(vi) unsafe passenger, or freight management; or
(vii) inadequate operational information that could lead to an unsafe situation;
(c) any other matter that endangers, or could endanger, the safety of railway operations not reportable under a mandatory reporting scheme.
If you are in any doubt whether the matter you wish to report is covered by the REPCON scheme or a mandatory reporting scheme please call us.
What is not a reportable safety concern?
To avoid doubt, the following matters are not reportable safety concerns and are not guaranteed confidentiality
- matters relating to a serious and imminent threat to a person’s health or life
- industrial relations matters
- conduct that constitutes a criminal offence
- terrorist acts. If you wish to provide information about terrorist activity you should call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.
Matters which must be reported under a mandatory reporting scheme should not be reported under REPCON. This will not discharge your reporting obligations under a mandatory reporting scheme.
If you believe it would be necessary to act on information about an individual referred to in your report then you should report this directly to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, the appropriate regulator in your state or the rail operator.
What is confidential?
Personal information about the reporter and any person referred to in the report. If you believe it would be necessary to act on information about an individual referred to in your report then you should report this directly to the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator on 1300 550 865.
Is an anonymous report via REPCON acceptable?
REPCON does not accept anonymous reports. REPCON staff cannot contact an anonymous reporter to verify the report or to seek additional information. Further, REPCON staff must be satisfied that the reporter's motivation for reporting is rail safety promotion, and that the reporter is not attempting to damage a rival or pursue an industrial agenda.
How are REPCON reports processed?
REPCON staff will assess each report for clarity, completeness and significance for rail safety and to ensure it meets the requirements of a Reportable Safety Concern (RSC) for rail.
The report will be de-identified to remove all personal details of the reporter and any individual named in the report. This will be passed to the reporter who must authorise the content before the REPCON can proceed further.
The de-identified text is then forwarded to the relevant organisation that is best placed to address the RSC. The organisation’s response will then be forwarded to the Regulator for further action as deemed necessary.
REPCON may use the de-identified version of the report to issue an information-brief or alert bulletin to a person or organisation, including the Regulator, which is in a position to take safety action in response to the safety concern.
If the reporter has previously reported the concern to any organisations involved or to the regulator, the protection of the reporter’s identity may be jeopardised. As such, the concern may not be able to be progressed through the REPCON system. REPCON staff will assess each report and discuss options on how to best progress the safety concern.
What are the possible outcomes from a REPCON report?
The desired outcomes are any actions taken to improve rail safety in response to the identified concern. This can include variations to standards, orders, practices, procedures or an education campaign.
Why is REPCON important?
REPCON reports can serve as a powerful reminder that, despite the best of intentions, well-trained and well-meaning people are still capable of making mistakes. The de-identified stories arising from these reports may serve to reinforce the message that we must remain vigilant to ensure the ongoing safety of ourselves and others.
How can I make a REPCON report
REPCON reports can be submitted by: Online REPCON form
Mail: GPO Box 321
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 1800 020 505
If you require assistance, advice or further information, please call REPCON on 1800 020 505.
Submission of information known by the reporter to be false or misleading is a serious offence under section 137.1 of the Criminal Code. Aiding, abetting, counseling, procuring or urging the submission of false or misleading information is also a serious offence.