COVID-19 Update

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the Rail Industry Worker (RIW) Program will provide updates where they apply to delivery of the RIW Program.


The Transport and Construction Industry are currently deemed essential services. This also extends to the operators, maintainers, constructors and suppliers who are critical in underpinning and supporting the rail industry.

The RIW program and its services are essential and remain committed to supporting the rail industry and rail industry workers during these uncertain times.

Whilst the RIW team is undertaking the necessary safe working measures to protect the health and wellbeing of staff as part of COVID-19 precautions, the RIW Service Desk will continue to operate at full capacity at this time. This includes 24/7 phone support, and delivery of competency verification and ticket support as per usual.

The RIW Program is working to align business rules with the measures and practices Operators are putting in place for their COVID-19 business continuity planning.

Impacts on the ability to undertake training or receive medicals for RIW cardholders

Rail Operators are currently undertaking a risk assessment of training requirements for competencies and rail medicals, in light of the limitations on face to face interaction and will advise if any business rules will need to be amended during this period.

We will keep you updated with any new changes as they come to hand.

The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR) have advised their position regarding the ability of rail transport operators to meet normal regulatory requirements to ensure operations continue in a safe manner.  Please refer to their fact sheet which details complying with medical standards and re-certification of competencies.

There is currently no legal provision for ONRSR to approve any exemption from the medical requirements of the National Transport Commission’s National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers. Because of concerns raised by industry in being able to comply with the requirements of section 114 of the Rail Safety National Law (RSNL), ONRSR has worked with State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments to reach a practical solution.

The initial exemptions have now lapsed in all states and territories, but please note that Victorian Government has gazetted a new exemption on 24 July, with conditions, to section 114 of the RSNL. Operators in Victoria can access the gazettal here.

This exemption only applies to periodic health assessments and will expire 3 months after the gazettal.


To stay up to date on all RIW news, please visit our News & Updates page.

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