Britain’s railways have never been safer. We have the safest system in Europe and have achieved consistent improvement in standards over the past few years, leading to a hugely important achievement - for the first time ever, there were no workforce fatalities in 2015.
Of course, this does not mean that we can sit back and relax. If anything, there is more pressure, now that we have achieved such heights, to maintain that record and to improve the areas that have not enjoyed the same improvement - such as the slightly increased risk of harm to passengers at stations and the high level of earthwork failures.
Safety on the railway is the responsibility of everyone who works on it, but of course there always has to be someone there to ensure that standards are maintained, that the law is being applied, and that everyone is going home safe. That’s where the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) comes in. The regulator has just released its latest Annual Health and Safety Report ( RAIL 806).
In this Safety special, Director of Railway Safety and HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser tells RAIL about his priorities and where he wants to see improvement (page 44). Complacency is not an option for Prosser.
RSSB (Rail Safety and Standards Board) describes the landmark moment that was the release of the industry’s first Health and Safety Strategy in March, and we showcase some of the good work being done by companies such as Kelvin TOPSET (page 67) and Carillion (page 50).
And to prove that an inspector’s life is not spent sitting behind a computer screen scrutinising numbers, we get out and about on the railway with ORR (page 52) and RAIB (Rail Accident Investigation Branch, page 62) inspectors, to understand just how important they are in keeping up safety standards.
Our safety record is something to be truly proud of, so much so that other countries are looking to us to show them just how we manage it (page 68). STEFANIE BROWNE Assistant Editor RailReview
ORR inspectors provide assistance to a number of railways around the world, including the Dubai Metro (see page 68).