HOW ARE RAIL SAFETY WORKERS CATEGORISED FOR RISK?
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
Non-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.
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.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD A MEDICAL ASSESSMENT BE UNDERTAKEN?
- 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
Category 3 Non 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.
- At time of commencement (pre-placement, as above), then
- every 5 years from the age of 40 years.