A NEW BLUEPRINT FOR RAIL SAFETY

The once-respected HM Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) in the UK now has serious problems, including low morale, criticism by its parent body, and inability to recruit suitable staff. In this article, a leading rail safety expert assesses its current situation and presents proposals for restoring its credibility. HMRI's main responsibilities are: (1) approval of new and altered works; (2) acceptance of railway safety cases; (3) health and safety inspection; and (4) accident investigation. However, HMRI at present has no responsibility for the maintenance, operation, or design of any railway. It was brought into the HSE in 1990, even though the HSE handles no other aspects of public transport safety, but is concerned mainly with employers and the safety of employees. Thus HMRI could be unable to judge whether the rail industry is properly addressing key safety issues, for example about signals. The investigation of serious railway accidents is in a mess; the first priority should be to find the cause and any lessons that could cause a recurrence, not to assign blame. The HSE has criticised the HMRI approvals process. The solution is to establish a new Rail Transport Safety Board, reporting directly to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR). It would have a Rail Accident Investigation Branch and a branch for approving and inspecting new works.

  • Availability:
  • Corporate Authors:

    EMAP ACTIVE LTD

    APEX HOUSE, OUNDLE ROAD
    PETERBOROUGH,   United Kingdom  PE2 9NP
  • Authors:
    • Hall, S
  • Publication Date: 2000-7

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: p. 22-5
  • Serial:
    • Rail
    • Publisher: EMAP ACTIVE LTD
    • ISSN: 0989-8220

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00799669
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Oct 6 2000 12:00AM