What is a National or Network block?

A National or Network block is a restriction that prevents a Rail Industry Worker (RIW) from working on a Network Operator’s rail network or multiple rail networks. 


This can be at two levels in the system:

  • At a National level, which impacts all work sites on all participating rail networks, or
  • At a Network level, which includes all work sites on a specific Network only. 


Blocks can only be placed by a Network Operator or by the National Rail Industry Worker Governance Committee (NRIWGC) via the RIW Service Desk.


National Block

When a block is placed on an individual at the RIW Program level, this will exclude them from working on all Network Operator rail networks. Examples of why a National block might be placed include fraud or where a serious safety incident occurs and the Network Operator believes it should be escalated to the NRIWGC for consideration. These types of incidents would be categorised under the Rail Safety National Law as a Category A – Notifiable Occurrence.


Network Block

Network Operators reserve the right to remove and block any cardholder from their Network as a result of any type of breach, incident or accident, in accordance with their rules and procedures. This could impact a cardholders ability to work in other Network Operator jurisdictions, depending on the severity of the breach, and/or the number of times a cardholder has been found to have been in breach.

Where a cardholder has been identified as contributory to an incident, this may result in a suspension or block of the cardholder from carrying out rail safety work.

When a block is placed by the Network Operator, the block only prevents the cardholder from working on the Network where the block was placed. Other Networks are responsible for assessing the risks of working with blocked cardholders, and may refuse the blocked cardholder entry to their Network/site until they can determine why the cardholder was previously blocked at the different network location.

A Network Block may be placed on a cardholders profile in the following situations:

  • Failure to comply with the Network Operator’s Drug and Alcohol Management Program; or 
  • Serious/Critical Safety Breach; or
  • Other valid reason as determined by the Network Operator.


These types of incidents are categorised under the Rail Safety National Law as a Category A – Notifiable Occurrence. For more information about notifiable occurrences, please visit the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator website.


Note 

While the system automatically places a National block on a cardholder for a failed D&A result, or a site block on a cardholder for a failed Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Breathalyser reading, these are both system generated blocks which are different than the National or Network blocks listed above.



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Who can suspend a National or Network job role or competency?

Network Operators reserve the right to suspend, modify, reinstate, or cancel a cardholders authorisations, including their RIW card for any of the following reasons:

  • Any incident that results in the RIW demonstrating reckless act or legislative breach or
  • organisational breach;
  • The RIW is the subject of any action resulting from the Drug & Alcohol Testing;
  • Safe working breach;
  • Wherever a time-based remedial action is considered with a training/mentoring program to up-skill the RIW;
  • Competence and/or performance has, or may have, the potential to impact safety or is called into question;
  • The RIW is unable to meet competency requirements or re-certification is not granted;
  • Advice has been received that the RIW no longer meets the requirements of the national health standards; 
  • RIW has contravened a Fatigue Management Program; and/or
  • Other valid reason as determined by the Network Operator. 

Suspensions can be administered in two ways:

  • A job role suspension – this will prevent the RIW from undertaking work in the suspended job role, and 
  • A competence suspension – this will prevent a RIW from undertaking work in any role where the suspended competence is required.  

Depending on the outcome of an incident or re-certification assessment, a Network Operator may elect to suspend the RIW from their duties or downgrade their role or competency. Role and competence suspensions provide a Network Operator with an ability to prevent a RIW from working on their Network whilst still allowing the RIW to working on another Network Operators rail network.


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How can a cardholder dispute a block or suspension on their RIW profile?

Where a cardholder has a block and/or suspension on their RIW profile and believes this is incorrect, the following dispute resolution process can be followed.


Step 1

Draft an email with the subject "Block / Suspension Review Request", and in the body of your email outline your situation.


Step 2

  • For National blocks and / or National job role and competency suspensions, email the Australasian Railway Association on ara@ara.net.au.
  • For Network blocks and / or Network job role and competency suspensions, email the relevant Network Operator who placed the block or suspension.  You can find a list of Network Operator emails on our Network Operator Contact Page.
  • For Employer job role and competency suspensions, contact the Employer who placed the block or suspension.


The outcome of any dispute review is final.



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What is a competency or job role suspension?

A suspension is the temporary removal of a cardholders job role or competency. There are two types and levels of suspension:


Job role suspension is the temporary removal of a cardholders job role. 

  • National Role/Network Operator specific – suspended from specific work site/s in a specific capacity, or 
  • Employer based specific – suspended from a specific work site/s in a specific capacity.

 

Competency suspension is the temporary removal of a cardholders competency or unit of competence.

  • Network Operators can suspend/restore National and Network competencies, or
  • Premium Functionality Employer can suspend/restore Employer based competencies.
       

National and Network

National and Network suspensions can be placed for any of the following reasons:

  • Any incident that results in the cardholder demonstrating reckless act or legislative breach, or
  • Organisational breach;
  • The cardholder is the subject of any action resulting from Drug & Alcohol Testing;
  • Safe working breach;
  • Wherever a time-based remedial action is considered with a training/mentoring program to up-skill the cardholder;
  • Competence and/or performance has, or may have, the potential to impact safety or is called into question;
  • The cardholder is unable to meet competency requirements or re-certification is not granted;
  • Advice has been received that the cardholder no longer meets the requirements of the National Health Standards; 
  • Cardholder has contravened a Fatigue Management Program; and/or
  • Other valid reason as determined by the Network Operator. 


Only Network Operator Administrators and the RIW Service Desk have permission to lift and place the suspension of a National or Network job role or competency.


Employer

Premium Functionality Employers have the ability to create their own individual job roles and competencies to manage their workforce (refer to our articles How does a Premium Functionality Employer create an employer based job role? and How does a Premium Functionality Employer create an employer based competency?).


As such, Premium Functionality Employers reserve the right to suspend, modify or reinstate a Rail Industry Worker’s site specific role or competency.              


This could be placed for any of the following reasons:

  • Overstaying fatigue limits
  • Safe working breach
  • Rail Industry Worker is carrying out any work in an unsafe or unsatisfactory manner
  • Infringement of any safety rule or regulation
  • A person is performing work for which he/she is not suitably qualified
  • A person is guilty of misconduct
  • A person has a non-negative alcohol or drug result
  • It is considered that the person is unsuitable to work in the vicinity of railway tracks or any of the equipment associated therewith, including not holding the necessary certification or licences required
  • Other valid reason as determined by the owner of the employer job role or competency.


Note: If a Rail Industry Worker is involved in a serious safety breach (including drug and alcohol), or the Employer believes that the Rail Industry Worker should be blocked for other reasons, the Contractor in Charge or the Employer should notify the relevant Network Operator to request that a Network block be placed on the Rail Industry Worker. The Network Operator will then determine whether a Network block is required.

           


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What is a block resulting from a medically recorded drug or alcohol failure?

In the RIW System, where a health assessment is completed and the health assessment requires a drug and alcohol test, if the drug test comes back as confirmed positive, the Authorised Health Professional (AHP) records the results and the RIW System automatically places a National block on the cardholder.


Whilst this is recorded on each Network Operator Australia wide, if any of the Network Operators has a rehabilitation mechanism or policy to support lifting the block on their Network, the Network Operator can lift the block for their Network only; meaning the block remains for all other Network Operators.


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What type of block is placed on a cardholder for a non-negative Breathalyser result?

A site block is automatically placed on a cardholders profile if the cardholder blows a non-negative result on a site associated Blood Alcohol Concentration Breathalyser device. 


Site blocks can only be removed by an Employer, Project or Site Administrator following the result of a second confirmatory test, and where the second confirmatory test records as negative.  If the second confirmatory test results in a confirmed positive, then a Network Operator block will be placed.


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What is a site block?

Where a site has a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Breathalyser Unit connected to the RIW System, a site block will be placed on the cardholder  where the initial breath test identifies a non-negative result which will prevent cardholder from being swiped onto site.

Immediately after the RIW System records the site block, an email is sent to the designated site contact informing them that a non-negative result has been recorded against the cardholder. The email serves as a trigger for the designated site contact to initiate a second confirmatory test, as per local requirements.

If the confirmatory test returns a negative result, the site block is removed from the cardholders profile and allows the cardholder  to be swiped onto site. If the confirmatory test comes back as confirmed positive, the designated site contact must notify the relevant Network Operator and a Network block is placed on the cardholder.



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How is a site block removed following a non-negative BAC breath test?

As part of the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Breathalyser integration, a designated site contact will receive notifications via email and SMS for those individuals that have received a non-negative result from a BAC breath test at the site. In addition to this, individuals who receive a non-negative result will have their card ‘site blocked’ until an Employer, Project or Site Admin lifts the block from the Cardholder’s profile following a second confirmatory test. If the second confirmatory test results in a confirmed positive, then a Network Operator block will be placed.


Note - Only the Contractor in Charge’s Employer, Project or Site Administrator can lift a site-block on a cardholders RIW profile.



Step 1

Go to https://app.riw.net.au and login using your Employer Administrator or Project/Site Administrator credentials.


Step 2

In the event a cardholder is blocked as a result of a non-negative BAC breath test and you wish to lift the block, you will need to log in as the Employer, Project or Site Admin of the site. Note: please ensure site requirements are followed in regards to secondary testing if required.


Once logged in, go to the cardholder’s profile and click on the Block option on the left-hand side menu.



Step 3

Click on the block line item description then click Lift.  Add the Authorised Person’s name to lift the block and click Save.




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What are the RIW Program Rules regarding blocks and suspensions?

The RIW Program Rules provide RIW participant organisations and end users with greater understanding of the rules that govern the RIW Program.


For information regarding how blocks and suspensions are governed in the RIW Program, please refer to the RIW Program Rules for Blocks & Suspensions.



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