New rail laws hailed by union
THE rail industry has 12 months to meet new fatigue safety requirements set by the State Government.
The announcement of new work standards and shift lengths for train drivers comes after the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) took a dispute with QR National to the Fair Work Australia tribunal over concerns for the safety of drivers under a proposed new contract at five CQ coal depots.
Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the new regulations would set new minimum standards for fatigue management across the State's rail network and improve safety for rail staff and passengers.
She said the changes included a maximum shift of 12 hours for trains with two drivers, and nine hours maximum for single-driver locomotives.
The new rules also include a minimum 12 hours break between each shift when the driver ends a shift at a home depot, and eight hours break for those away from home.
Ms Palaszczuk said with a massive expansion in the mining sector, the Government had to keep a close watch on fatigue issues.
RTBU State Secretary Owen Doogan said the union was delighted with the Government's decision and referred to it as "an advancement in safety in the industry".
"Fatigue management is a top of the tree safety issue," he said.