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NEWS


UK railway one of the safest in Europe – ORR


Whilst the media and unions can sometimes paint a very different picture, safety on the UK railway is at record levels, according to the ORR. Kate Ashley reports.


Passenger safety is improving on the railways, with the rate of harm reduced to the lowest level ever recorded, the ORR has reported. The UK network was praised for being “one of the safest railways in Europe”.


The data was published on July 24 in the 2012 Health and Safety Report, and shows the overall rate of passenger harm has decreased by 12% over the past year – the lowest level ever recorded.


On London Underground, Overground and the Docklands Light Railway, there were no workforce or industry-caused deaths in 2011/12. Recorded harm from level crossings was also reduced by 15% overall.


However, the number of potentially higher risk train accidents increased from 18 to 34, and the level of harm to train drivers and crew on the mainline railway increased by 4%.


The report found that 80% of train and freight operators were making progress towards ‘excellence’ in health and safety management, as measured against the Rail Management Maturity Model, known as RM3.


Source: RSSB based on data from Eurostat


Network Rail was seen as eager to improve progress in safety, but the ORR raised concerns over the company’s ability to drive health and safety independent from monitoring and campaigning by the regulator.


The report reads: “We continue to find patchy, inconsistent implementation of processes and procedures and a slow pace in making improvements.


“Overall, progress has been made during the year and we believe Network Rail is now in a better position than at the start of the year, but we are concerned about progress in specific areas being dependent on pressure from us.”


Heritage railways


There have been 10 improvement and prohibition notices issued to heritage railways this year, up from four. The report states: “ORR has had to intervene on far too many occasions this year to enforce safety, particularly the


have


requirement effective


to safety management systems.”


The ORR came under some criticism recently for fining Telford Steam


12 | rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12


To view the report, visit: www.rail-reg.gov.uk/ upload/pdf/health-safety-report-2012.pdf


FOR MORE INFORMATION


Our special focus on rail industry safety and crime prevention is on pages 103-114.


Railway £5,000 for an accident where the chairman had his own legs crushed by a length of rail being moved by crane (see letters, page 20-21, for an example). An investigation found that none of the staff or volunteers involved in the work had received sufficient training or been provided with adequate PPE. No planning took place before the work and the crane being used was unstable, defective and not certified, the ORR found.


The key to success


ORR’s director of rail safety, Ian Prosser, said: “Our 2012 health and safety report shows that Britain continues to have one of the safest railways in Europe. Indeed, safety on our railways is improving in key areas, with latest data highlighting


that passenger harm has reduced to its lowest ever recorded level.


“However, over the past year we have had to step in to ensure safety on mainline and heritage lines, and train and freight services. It is vital that the whole rail industry continues to work together, builds on its successes, and tackles areas where there is room for improvement.”


Prosser explained the focus for the next year would be to make greater use of “proactive, forward-looking safety systems”, implementing organisational change safely and embedding a professional culture that promotes health and safety. He concluded: “This will be the key to long-term sustainable success.”


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