What Rail Medical Do I Need as an Industry Worker?

February 15, 2022

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 rail medical examinations, conducted in line with the National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers.

At CERT Training, we are eager to help you understand the different rail workers safety medical assessment requirements.

If you want to advance your career, we also encourage you to browse our range of courses online.

What are the legal requirements for a rail 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 rail transport operators and employers must ensure that their rail industry workers are up to date with their medicals before they receive assignments to work within 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 medical assessments.

What are the compulsory medical assessments for rail workers?

There are currently three types of medical assessments, each imposed on a different category of rail industry workers.

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

Category 1

There are the highest medical certifications, mandatory for all rail safety workers in Australia who perform safety-critical work. For this kind of job, sudden incapacitation due to ill health may lead to serious accidents that affect public safety or the integrity of the rail network.

This medical includes the following aspects:

  • Vision testing
  • Audiometry (hearing up to 2000 Hz)
  • Musculoskeletal assessment
  • Cardiovascular examination
  • K10 Questionnaire for Psychological health
  • Epworth Sleepiness Scale
  • General medical examination
  • Drug and alcohol screening.

The frequency of taking this 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

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

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

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

As all-around track personnel, these workers hold responsibility for their safety and that of their colleagues. A CAT 3 evaluates their capability to walk in the rail corridor, work under supervision, and promptly move to a safe location when necessary. Workers are 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 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 risks for an industry worker’s health on a daily basis?

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, in partnership with CMS, 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.