The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has published its annual report covering the period 1st January to 31st December 2021. The report summarises operational and investigative activity undertaken by the Branch during the year.
The release coincides with a recent report into an incident in which a passenger train narrowly missed two track workers and struck a tree near Weston-Super-Mare, on Friday, 14th January 2022.
During 2021 RAIB had consistent operational activity, with 391 notifications being received, leading to the deployment of inspectors and staff on 29 different occasions, resulting in 47 preliminary examinations. Out of these preliminary examinations, 16 led to full investigations, which will be published in the form of a detailed report with safety recommendations, and a further eight led to a safety digest being produced.
RAIB made 31 safety recommendations during 2021 to 36 different organisations across the rail industry including operators, manufacturers, and other authorities. These recommendations were made, in accordance with the safety themes within the report.
The themes consist of the safety of track workers, the safety of people getting on and off trains, railway operations, management of bad weather, freight wagon maintenance, safety at user worked crossings and management assurance.
Andrew Hall, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said:
“Our Annual Report details the Branch’s activities in 2021 and highlights the main safety themes that have run through the accidents and incidents we have investigated.
For all the numbers and conclusions in such reports, it is always worth remembering that accidents are devastating for the people involved and anyone who loses a loved one or friend as a result; learning from them as individual events or as parts of trends is a vital part of improving safety and reducing harm.”
In 2019 RAIB launched a new series of ‘summaries of learning’ reports, drawing on data from RAIB’s archive of investigations to highlight important safety learning of continued concern. These documents continue to be updated and are a useful reference for industry.
The findings of the RAIB report should be studied by businesses within the sector, to ensure the prevention of future accidents and incidents, thus improving general railway safety.
The 2021 annual report can be found on the RAIB website.