Newsletter 11

Employer Administrator Newsletter #11

The Rail Industry Worker Program (RIW) manages medical assessments for rail industry workers. We thought a timely refresher might be helpful for RIW employer administrators, so let’s clarify some of the key points…


The National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers underpins the system for monitoring the health of rail safety workers in Australia. The national standard enables a consistent application of health standards across the rail industry, ensuring that medical criteria reflect the latest knowledge of health conditions and the impact on safe working performance. The National Transport Commission (NTC) reviews the standard every three years. The 2017 Standard came into effect on 1 February 2017 and applies to all rail transport operators and rail safety workers in Australia.

Rail transport operators endorse selected doctors and health professionals to undertake medical assessments. All health assessments for rail safety workers are conducted in line with the current edition of the national standard.

Medicals Overview
How to upload a medical assessment
How to fast track a medical assessment
Amendments to the DPTI Operator Roles
ID Check System Improvements

Categorisation is based on consideration of the key question, “For any aspect of the worker’s tasks, could action or inaction on the part of the worker lead directly to a serious incident affecting the public or the rail network?”

The response to this question leads to the definition of two main risk categories:

Safety Critical Worker
  • Category 1 workers are the highest level of Safety Critical Worker. These are workers who require high levels of attentiveness to their task and for whom sudden incapacity or collapse (e.g. from a heart attack or blackout) may result in a serious incident affecting the public or the rail network. Train driving is an example of a Category 1 task.
  • Category 2 workers also require high levels of attentiveness, however fail-safe mechanisms or the nature of their duties will ensure that sudden incapacity or collapse does not affect safety of the rail network. For example, in many cases signallers are classified as Category 2 because fail-safe signal control systems protect the safety of the rail network in case of worker incapacity.
Non-Safety Critical Worker

These are workers whose action or inaction will not lead directly to a serious incident affecting the public or the rail network. These workers require health assessments to ensure their own safety while working in or around the network.

  • Category 3 workers are also known as Around the Track Personnel (ATTP). These workers operate in an uncontrolled environment, so the worker may be at risk from moving rolling stock.
  • Category 4 workers are ATTP working in a controlled environment, which is a rail workplace where a risk assessment has been performed to identify hazards and implement controls to ensure that any person working in or transiting the area is not placed at risk from moving rolling stock so far as is reasonably practicable.

A rail safety worker should receive the level of health assessment commensurate with their rail safety work risk category. Assessments generally comprise a health questionnaire and clinical examination, and in some instances further testing may be required, such as pathology, drug and alcohol or functional/practical tests. Rail safety workers will require a health assessment at pre-placement, before changing to a position involving tasks of a higher risk category, triggered (due to notification of a health problem that is likely to affect safety) or periodically according to the following defined frequencies:

Category 1 & 2 Safety Critical Workers
  • At time of commencement (pre-placement, as above)
  • every 5 years to age 50, then
  • every 2 years to age 60,
  • then every year.
Category 3 Non Safety Critical Workers
  • At time of commencement (pre-placement, as above), then
  • every 5 years from the age of 40 years.


Some Authorised Heath Professionals (AHP’s) can directly upload the medical assessment to the RIW system. You can find a list of these AHP’s on the RIW website. If not using this service, Employer Administrators can submit an Upload Medical Certificate Service Request on the RIW website. Medical assessments are generally processed within 3 business days.


If a rail worker is required to go out on track sooner, you can elect to fast track the medical assessment (and any required competencies) for $55+GST. Fast track medicals will be processed within 8 business hours. Follow the instructions in the Quick Guide – Fast Track Medicals.


As part of transitioning to the new RIW system, the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) has simplified the ‘DPTI Operator – Contractor’ and ‘DPTI Operator – Employee’ roles by merging them into the one ‘DPTI Operator’ role.

In combining the roles, DPTI has worked with MTA to assign the new ‘DPTI Operator’ role to those that held the role ‘DPTI Operator – Contractor’ and move data across to this new simplified role. If you had evidence uploaded complying with DPTI’s Business Rules, no further action is required and the new ‘DPTI Operator’ role will be show on your RIW card and be valid.

If your ‘DPTI Operator’ role is appearing as invalid on your RIW card this means that either you have uploaded evidence that does not meet DPTI’s Business Rules or are missing required evidence. To find out more about what to do in this situation, please refer to Amendments to the DPTI Operator Roles – Does this affect you?


We’ve recently made some updates to the ID check module to further improve overall performance of the RIW system. In summary the key updates include:

  • Workers can now update their own middle name at the ID check stage, if this is not entered by the Employer Administrator during registration. This will lessen the chance of an ID check rejection.
  • When an ID check is sent to a worker, the Employer Administrator will be copied in to the worker’s email.
  • We’ve increased the quality of the rejection details when an ID check is rejected. The full rejection reason will be emailed to the Employer Administrator, as well as displaying on the ID check menu on a worker’s profile.

A list of system updates is always accessible on the System Updates page on the RIW website.

To find out more information about the RIW Program, including self-paced training materials and FAQs, visit