Bus safety duties

Safety duties require a person to eliminate risks to safety, so far as is reasonably practicable. A shared responsibility for safety forms a key part of this provision.

The Bus Safety Act 2009 (Vic) introduced a range of safety duties for all persons who participate in providing a bus service. These safety duties depend on the nature of your bus service activity.

Read about the safety duties for different roles:

Safety duties are intended to create a safety culture, so that risks to bus safety are managed proactively and to a high standard.

Your duty to ensure safety is not absolute, but to the standard so far as is reasonably practicable (SFAIRP).

How does this work in practice?

The greater the risk and seriousness of the harm posed by the risk, the higher the duty is to take precautions, even if these are expensive or difficult to adopt.

For example, as a bus operator, it is clearly ‘reasonably practicable’ for you to have appropriate inspection and maintenance checks, administrative procedures, or driver awareness training in place, to address the risks associated with operating bus doors.

However, it may or may not be ‘reasonably practicable’ to install the latest door sensitive edge systems or otherwise modify your buses if they cannot be adapted to your vehicle, do not have a proven safety benefit in your circumstances, or the effort in terms of costs, time and trouble are not in proportion to the risk.

Having good risk management practices that identify and assess risks, and consider appropriate controls, are important in demonstrating that you have done everything ‘reasonably practicable’ to meet your safety duties.

What is TSV’s approach?

The responsibility is with bus operators and others with obligations under the Bus Safety Act to demonstrate that they have ensured safety to the required standard.

This is because Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) assumes that you are in the best position to know how to manage your bus safety risks, depending on the nature of your activities, your context and the controls available to you.

TSV’s role is to work collaboratively with operators and others to ensure they comply, without prescribing the details, methods or processes by which they choose to comply.

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