Latest Rail News

29.09.14

Rail fatalities reach 345 last year – ORR reveals

In the last year there were 345 fatalities on the UK rail network as a whole, an increase of 19 compared to 2012-13, according to new figures from the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR).

The figures, which cover the period 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, highlight that of these fatalities 304 were recorded as suicide.

Of the 315 mainline fatalities, 279 were mainline suicides in 2013-14, 33 more than the previous year and the most in a single year since the time series began in 2002-03. This is a 13% increase compared with 2012-13.

The most recent statistics for the total number of suicides in the whole of the UK decreased by 1.1% between the calendar years of 2011 and 2012. Although the figures cover a slightly different period, suicides on the railways decreased by three (1.2%) between 2011-12 and 2012-13.

ORR's director of railway safety, Ian Prosser, said: “Managing safety on the rail network presents a major challenge to the industry as it faces pressures from rising numbers of passengers and trains.

“This is why there is no room for complacency and ORR is focusing attention on safety at stations and at track and rail constructions sites. The regulator wants to see improvements in safety culture with strong leadership across the rail sector.”

Network Rail has been running a campaign for several years in conjunction with the Samaritans to prevent suicides and have installed fences along many stretches of track and on platform ends to help prevent deaths. This has prevented an estimated 200 suicides and as a result, the scheme has been extended for another five years.

Ian Stevens, suicide prevention programme manager for Network Rail, told RTM: “Any death on the railway is a tragedy but the impact is felt not only by those who knew the person but by the train driver and station staff and those who are involved in the aftermath. 

“We want to do everything we can to stop this from happening, and if it does, to help our people deal with it. Samaritans have helped us enormously to develop our work in this area, with their great expertise, empathy and tenacity. A continued collaborative approach across the industry and everyone working in mental health is needed to tackle this societal problem and to help us keep Britain moving by rail.”

RTM recently spoke to Ola Rzepczynska, programme manager at the Samaritans, about the project extension and its aims for the future.

Passenger and workforce injuries

The number of passenger injuries on the mainline, London Underground and other networks in the last year rose to 11,047, an increase of 0.9% compared with the previous year.

According to ORR, slips, trips and falls – often a result of congestion or bad weather – accounted for the highest proportion of injuries on both the mainline network and London Underground.

The number of workforce injuries on the mainline network increased from 5,834 in 2012-13 to 6,040 in 2013-14 an increase of 3.5%.by 206 (3.5%). Workforce injuries on the London Underground network rose by 302 (8.3%) and other networks by 34 (16.9%).

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