This week, myself and one of my employees undertook the course and medical for the RISI (Rail Industry Safety Induction) ticket. The ticket is similar to the construction industry generic induction although a bit more thorougher. When it comes time to testing you must get at least 80% of questions right out of 69 questions, and 100% of the practical test which involves about 25 questions.
The ticket is one of the requirements to work in a rail corridor, it is only one of the requirements and you cannot obtain the ticket and then enter a rail corridor, permits must be obtained and for all work crews a "Protective Officer" must be present, my understanding is that the Protective Officer or PO is an OH&S officer, with a lot of understanding of the railway system.
We arrived at the Rail Training Center at 7:30am, the class went until a bit after midday with a few breaks in between. The test is straightforward and the trainer was quite good in that he went over everything a couple of times and would answer any questions put forward however you have to pay attention as its a must pass test. The main things I could remember is the up and down line, clothing required, signals to stop train and terminology. As long as you pay attention you should get through the test.
After the test we did our medical downstairs at a medical center that specializes in workplace medical and drug tests. We did hearing and eyesight tests as well as a urine screen for drugs. The list of drugs tested for is quite comprehensive from all the illegal drugs; cocaine, heroin, cannabis and LSD among others as well as over the counter and prescription drugs; morphine, methadone, endone, xanax and codine. These are not the only drugs that are screened but what I could remember from being told by the nurse that administered the test. If you have had to take any prescription medicine you can tell the nurse and they will write it down on the paperwork, then should any of the substances be found you have a legitimate reason for testing positive.
If you test positive to drugs you have to wait 3 months to take the test again. If you fail a second time it is a 9 month test and I would say that perhaps working inside the rail corridor is not for you.
The urine samples are sent to a laboratory and then sent back to the medical center, from there the medical and paper work from the tests are sent to RailCorp. RailCorp is the issuer of the RISI ticket, they send the ticket back to the rail training center and they either post it out registered post or you can pick it up. To me it seems a bit inefficient but than when has anything government been efficient?
From doing the RISI training and medical it takes a few weeks to get the ticket, so allow the time for the ticket, you do get a certificate that says you did the course but you can only work with the RailCorp issued ticket, and they are 100% strict on the no ticket no start policy.
Once you have the ticket and are working on the railways, you must have the ticket on your person at all times, also there are regular random drug and alcohol tests conducted by RailCorp. Last year in NSW 384 people tested positive and had their ticket terminated (minimum 3 years before you can apply for RISI again as well as fines) The allowable amount of alcohol when working on the railways is 0.00 so drugs and alcohol, NOT AT WORK!! or before work or after work or ever if you work railways.
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