Category One Medical

  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
Hi All,
I am intersted in doing a Category One Medical so I can boost my volunteer activities.
I would prefer to do it privately and pay myself however, and I have a two questions which google has been vague about.
- Where can I have the medical done? Is there a particular group, or is this done through the local doctor?
- Do glasses for very mild short sighted-ness disqualify me? I have seen other train drivers and rail workers wear glasses, but is this different issues.

Thanks for your help

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  12CSVT Chief Commissioner

Location: Drowning in accreditation red tape!
Hi R,

As the Safety & Accreditation Manager for my group, I am familiar with the requirements of Rail Safety Critical Worker (SCW) medicals.

Firstly, your organisation should have defined the risk categories for the various operational roles it has. This would have been done by undertaking a task Risk Assessment, to classify the roles as to whether they rate an SCW Cat. 1, Cat. 2 or Cat. 3.

Your railway would then issue you with a Health Assessment Request and Report Form which would specify which SCW Level is required. It is unlikely a SCW Cat. 1 would be required unless you were going to be rostered on Driver Only (D.O.O.) trains or doing mainline work. Most preserved railway driving / firing jobs require a Cat. 2 at most. However, you may elect to get a Cat. 1 if you have plans to (maybe) apply for a full time professional role with a commercial operator on the mainline. However, it is more expensive (longer and more involved appointments and tests) and unless you are willing to pay for it yourself (cannot claim it on Medicare), your preserved railway is unlikely to fund it, if it is not required.

You will also receive a Health Questionnaire form to complete and an SCW Health Assessment Record for a Health Professional (for your doctor to complete). You will need to take all forms plus available workplace medical records (such as recent audiometry tests and last optometry results) and any information relating to recent illnesses or injuries (esp. workplace related).

Your railway should have a designated doctor (authorised health professional) who is familiar with the National Standard for SCW Health Assessments and is approved by the National Transport Commission (NTC) to undertake railway SCW Health Assessments. Unless your local G.P. is familiar with the standard, he cannot do the tests for you. If your railway doesn't have a designated doctor, you may be able to find one your local mainline commercial rail operator uses. However, it is best to have one most operators on your preserved railway uses, as he/she would then be familiar with the requirements of your organisation.  

The outcomes of your Health Assessment will determine which roles you can then undertake with your organisation. This will be determined by the person responsible for Safety & Accredition with your organisation.

Health Assessments need to be redone every five years up to age 50, then every 2 years up to age 60, then yearly thereafter, unless you suffer a major illness or injury in the meantime, when a "triggered" health assessment will be required before you can resume duties.

Finally, the issue pertaining to eye-sight fitness is principally colour perception. You need to be able to pass the Isahara test (flash cards with coloured dots forming shapes in a background of contrasting coloured dots). Obviously essential for determining signal aspects! Myopia (short-sightedness) is acceptable with corrective glasses, as long as the glasses give you acceptable vision (you will be tested with your glasses on).

I hope this info helps.
  beyerpeacock Assistant Commissioner

Location: Gorton Foundry
Get a bank loan too or have a good lot of cash. Cat 1's aren't cheap and unless your organization has stated you need one, don't get one.

There's no use in parading around saying you have a category one medical. Your organization would benefit much more by putting a boiler suit on and scrubbing carriages or black oiling an engine.
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
Assuming you are volunteering with Steamranger, why not ask the rail safety/accreditation manager for that organisation?

As 12CSVT said, the medicals are done by a doctor who is approved to do it. I've done a cat 2 and was given a list of approved doctors in Victoria who are able to do it for the railway I volunteer at. I just picked one, made an appointment and did it.
  NG Sulzers Deputy Commissioner

Location: Quorn
I had an up to date Cat 1 medical for the T&H Railway I've been part of for quite some time. This was even mentioned in my CV that I did DOO work on the T&H Railway (RC driver) and had a Cat 1 medical with 45 months left on it. However the commercial company I am now employed by had me redo Cat 1 medical as the Dr. needs to be an Authorised Health Professional listed within that company's SMS.
At around the same time a qualified driver changed companies and although having a current Cat 1 medical needed to redo his Cat 1.

Further, as part of the practitioner conducting the medical, they need to have the risk assessment for the job that the medical is for. In reverse, a qualified Sparks driver wanting to have his Cat 1 medical recognised by a T&H Operator for steam would not have it instantly recognised because the risk assessment for a Sparks driver would not include such stuff as extended exposure to radiant heat, oils and lubricants, coal dust etc.

So whilst the intent of Medicals was meant to have portability between organisations, it is progressing towards that, but it's not entirely black and white yet.

Although I was interstate for a while and had a Cat 1 medical for diesel and steam operations with a kindred organisation, and that was recognised back home because the risk assessments were parallel.
  Railnthusiast Chief Commissioner

Location: At the computer
Thankyou, I will keep all this in mind.

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