What Rail Medical Do I Need as a Rail Industry Worker?

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If you are a rail industry worker, you need to prove that you are healthy and fit to do your job, which usually requires physical effort. To prove this, you are required to pass various medical examinations, in line with government regulations. At CERT, we are eager to help you understand the different rail medical assessment requirements for a rail industry worker. Also, if you want to advance your career, we encourage you to browse our range of courses online.

What are the legal requirements for a medical assessment?

Any rail industry worker should pass the compulsory medical assessment for their job type. The requirements are specified in detail in the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers, issued by the National Transport Commission.

All employers must ensure that their rail industry workers are up to date with their medicals before they receive assignments to perform any tasks along the rail corridor. This is important from several points of view:

  • A rail industry worker’s job can be physically strenuous
  • The public’s safety using the rail network for transportation depends on their work
  • The safety of their colleagues depends on a worker’s ability to react promptly to various situations
  • The environment’s safety is at risk when rail work is performed inaccurately.

Also, whenever a rail industry worker wants to earn a new certificate or learn a new skill through CERT courses, they must prove that they are up to date with their mandatory rail medical assessments.

What are the compulsory medical assessments for rail industry workers?

There are currently three types of rail medical assessments, each imposed on a different category of rail industry workers. Thus, these compulsory medicals are:

The CERT team will explain what these rail medical assessments consist of and who needs to take them.

Category 1 Rail Medical

There are the highest medical certifications, mandatory for any rail industry worker who performs safety-critical work. For this kind of job, sudden incapacitation may lead to serious accidents that affect public safety or the integrity of the rail network.

This type of medical assessment will cover the following aspects:

  • Vision testing
  • Hearing testing (audiometry)
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Cardiovascular examination
  • K10 Questionnaire for Psychological health
  • Epworth Sleepiness Scale
  • General medical examination
  • Drug and alcohol screening.

The frequency of taking this rail medical assessment is:

  • Before starting employment
  • Once every 5 years up to the age of 50
  • Once every 2 years between the ages of 50 and 60
  • Every year after the age of 60.

Category 2 Rail Medical

The second highest medical certification is required for rail workers whose sudden incapacitation will not endanger public safety or the integrity of the rail network. It includes:

  • General medical examination
  • Vision and hearing testing
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Drug and alcohol screening.

This type of medical has the same requirements for renewal as the CAT 1 rail medical assessment. 

Category 3 Rail Medical

If an industry worker does not perform safety-critical tasks, they are required to take the simplest type of medical assessments, covering:

  • Vision testing
  • Hearing testing (audiometry)
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Drug and alcohol screening.

A rail industry worker is required to take this assessment as follows:

  •  Before starting employment
  • At the age of 40
  • Once every 5 years after the age of 40.

Why are rail medical assessments are so comprehensive?

As you can see, these tests are very detailed and need to be taken at precise intervals throughout the active life as a rail industry worker. This strict schedule is justified by the impact of the workers’ fitness to perform their tasks on the safety of railway traffic.

What are the daily risks for a rail industry worker’s health?

The medical assessments are required to prove that workers are in good health because they are constantly exposed to risks, such as:

  • Loud noises
  • Heavy loads and machinery
  • Motorised vehicles
  • Fatigue

Trains, weighing thousands of tons, can reach speeds between 73 km/h and 92 km/h and carry either persons or goods. Any error in signalling or rail maintenance can lead to tragedies.

Thus, the rail medical assessment is focused on checking that the worker’s primary senses work to a satisfactory degree to allow them to perform their job tasks.

At CERT, we comply with all legal requirements in assessing our course candidates’ eligibility to enrol, including a valid medical assessment.

Your career depends on your ability to perform your tasks safely for yourself, your work colleagues and the general public, so make sure that you are up to date with your medical assessment.

CERT Training currently offers medicals at all our training sites. For enquiries and to book please contact medbookings@cert.edu.au or phone 1300 042 378

Want more information? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions overview.

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