Adjacent Line Requirements


Why is ARTC changing safety measures for track work?

Working on track is dangerous, so in line with our No Harm value, we’re strengthening the safety measures that need to be taken when working near an adjacent line.

Ultimately, this is about protecting people, so the stronger processes and procedures we put in place will help ensure sufficient separation between track workers and rail traffic at all times.


How does the Bulletin differ from the Flash Alert?

The Safety & Environment Bulletin replaces the Flash Alert to provide a better solution for all – one that prioritises safety, while also enabling frontline teams to do their jobs efficiently.

Incorporating the feedback received following the Flash Alert, the Bulletin provides clearer instructions and more suitable options to consider when assessing the risk of people, plant or equipment being struck by rail traffic on an adjacent line. It does not supersede any existing network rules and procedures.


What is an adjacent line?
Any line in the rail corridor (including shared corridors) near a worksite needs to be considered an adjacent line. When preparing a Worksite Protection Plan (WPP) and Pre-Work Brief (PWB), it needs to be determined if there is potential to encroach within 3m of an adjacent line.


What is the protected area?
The protected area is your worksite where you have created a position of safety by excluding rail traffic through a Work on Track Authority.


Who decides the method of protection on the adjacent line?

The Track Force Protection Coordinator / Protection Officer / Track Worker managing rail safety determines the method of protection on the adjacent line.

The type of work and the potential to encroach within 3m of the adjacent line will determine the protection required. Under the Network Rules, it is a requirement that the highest reasonably practicable form of protection is used.


What about emergency work?
Adjacent line hazards must still be managed for emergency works, however if work is deemed an emergency, the track supervisor has the authority to close the track.


What about road-rail vehicles (RRV) or track machines?

If you need to get out of a RRV or track machine on the live side – and there is potential for you to be within 3m of the adjacent line – controls must be in place to reduce the risk of being struck by rail traffic on the adjacent line prior to exiting the vehicle.

If there is no potential to be within 3m of the adjacent line, this must be noted in the PWB and Worksite Log & Diary.


What about working in shunting yards where it is extremely difficult to obtain adjacent line protection?
As part of the PWB and WPP development, it must be noted that the trains on the adjacent lines are travelling at low speed (typically less than 15km/h) and no adjacent line protection is required due to this reduction in speed.


The Bulletin says only people critical to the work task may remain on track if it is unsafe to stop the work. What is an example of this?
An example of a critical work task is rail welding where pre-heat times and mould strip times are critical to the quality of the weld.


The Bulletin states that you must reduce speed on the adjacent line where a critical work task cannot be safely stopped and it is not possible to erect a barrier. What speed should be imposed on the adjacent line?
Rail traffic on the adjacent line must pass the worksite at a speed of 40km/h or less.


Am I able to remain in a vehicle or machine when rail traffic approaches on an adjacent line?
Yes, if your position of safety is deemed to be within a vehicle or machinery.


Can vehicles or machines continue to work while rail traffic approaches or passes on the adjacent line?
This is determined by the safety assessment undertaken by the TFPC / PO / Track Worker managing rail safety and the Site Supervisor, and documented in the WPP and PWB.


People sometimes make mistakes. Is this considered as part of the safety assessment process?
We know that people can make mistakes (e.g. get distracted; conditioned to the risks etc), so this must be considered when assessing the potential to encroach within 3m of an adjacent line.


What is a barrier to prevent workers accessing the adjacent line?

A permanent or temporary barrier approved by ARTC that restricts workers accessing the adjacent line. For example, Vortek barriers, Jersey Kerb or chain mesh fencing.

Barrier tape and star pickets do not meet the required standards to restrict people from entering the adjacent line.

*Note: Barriers must not infringe on the kinetic envelope of the adjacent line.


Is there a difference in application between fixed and mobile workgroups?
No. The potential to encroach within 3m of an adjacent line must be assessed for both fixed and mobile workgroups. Controls must be implemented if it is identified that there is a risk of encroaching within 3m of the adjacent line.


What if there is more than one adjacent line?
All adjacent lines are to be considered when assessing the risk of people, plant or equipment being struck by rail traffic. The safety assessment must consider safe access and egress to the worksite and line speed.


How do I determine 3m from an adjacent line?
This is measured from the nearest rail on any adjacent line.


Where do I find details on approved physical barriers?
EHS-PR-002 Demarcation Fencing Procedure is now available for use as an important control to ensure safety of our workers. This Procedure applies to all workers and parties carrying out work at ARTC workplaces where demarcation fencing is required. It also complements ETM-17-02 Boundary Fencing.


I’ve read the FAQs and still have queries. What should I do?
Talk to your leader.


Go to top