Latest Rail News

16.07.13

Decrease in track worker safety over past year

The rail industry needs to improve track worker safety and its management of rail infrastructure, the ORR has warned.

The annual health and safety report calls for better plans to be developed to manage workers fatigue and improve occupational health. The industry needs a better understanding of the condition of assets to help plan maintenance and renewals, to improve resilience and lower the failure rate, it adds.

Over the last year there have been four passenger fatalities at stations, and while these weren’t industry caused, the ORR is calling for extra safety at stations. There was also an 8% worsening in track worker safety and poor weather has created a 34% increase in the risk of a passenger train accident caused by structural failures.

ORR's director of railway safety, Ian Prosser, said: “Latest safety statistics show Britain’s rail industry ranks among the safest in Europe, and best at managing passenger and level crossing rail safety. But there can be no room for complacency. ORR’s analysis shows there is considerable room for improvement in specific areas, such as planned track maintenance, management of civil structures and the safety of track workers. It is now essential the rail industry works as one to deliver an even safer railway.

“To maintain improvements the regulator has recently approved increased funding for the next five years to improve safety-critical areas of Britain’s railways, with additional money to improve the condition of structures such as bridges or tunnels, as well as to upgrade and close level crossings.”

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