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Railhub Archive
1999-10-25 ATO-001


'Safety will always come first'- Rail industry summit pledge

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Association of Train Operating Companies

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'Safety will always come first'- Rail industry summit pledge

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1999-08-12 Rail industry is committed to reducing SPADs (ATOC)


25 October 1999
source ATOC
type Press release

A confidential hotline for railway staff to report safety concerns was announced by the rail industry today (Monday).

Train operators, passengers and freight, and Railtrack have agreed that a reporting scheme piloted in Scotland is to be available nationwide.

The announcement came as leaders of Britain's Railways told a summit called by the Deputy Prime Minister in the aftermath of the Paddington accident that safety 'has and always will come first.'

After a comprehensive review of safety systems, a package of measures was tabled at the summit including:

o A commitment to deliver alternative options for ATP and TPWS across the network to the Sir David Davies Inquiry. The plans will take account of the latest European signalling standards.
o Confirmation that all Health and Safety Executive (HSE) directions to the industry regarding signals passed at danger are being carried out as directed.
o A review of driver training. It will also examine the uniformity of national standards.
o A confidential hotline for train drivers to report safety concerns to be available nationwide.
o A meeting this Wednesday of the new all-industry National Safety Task Force of board level directors to review progress on the many initiatives underway.

In a review of presentations to the Deputy Prime Minister, leaders of the industry stressed that safety will always come first in Britain's Railways. The summit was attended by representatives of Railtrack, the Train Operators, rolling stock leasing companies, EWS and Freightliner and London and Continental Railways.

Chris Green, a spokesperson for train operators, said: "These measures and many others already in place will begin the task of restoring the reputation of Britain's Railways as among the safest in the world.

Industry leaders also confirmed that that they are committed to working closely with trade unions and their members to discuss any concerns they might have about rail safety.

Notes to Editors.

1. Confidential Incident and Reporting System (CIRAS)

o All staff are already encouraged to report incidents to their managers and in confidence to their local safety representatives. However CIRAS is an independent as well as confidential reporting system for employees which aims to improve understanding of what might go wrong when an incident occurs.
o A two-year pilot of CIRAS was started in September 1996 by the University of Strathclyde. It is currently used by Scotrail, Railtrack Scotland Zone, Great North Eastern Railway and Virgin Trains (Scotland).
o CIRAS enables railway personnel, under conditions of strict confidentiality, to report safety related incidents or concerns to an independent body which records all reports on a central database and brings them to the notice of railway management and safety representatives.
o The pilot in Scotland has shown that employees come to trust the system because of its independence and it has brought to light information that might not otherwise been available. Employees cannot be disciplined as a result of making a report to CIRAS, however they are not granted immunity from discipline should incidents come to light through normal channels.
o CIRAS does not aim to replace or detract from existing company reporting procedures but works in parallel. It is currently run by the Centre for Applied Social Psychology (CASP), University of Strathclyde and headed by Professor John Davies. It is not a business and has no vested commercial interests.
o The experience gained from CIRAS will be used to develop the systems to be available for all staff in the railway.

2. Review of Driver Training

o The Board of the Association of Train Operating Companies has called for an independent review of driver training from consultants Halcrow Rail. Its terms of reference include the uniformity of national training standards.

For further information please contact:
ATOC Press Office
0171 904 3010

Railhub Archive ::: 1999-10-25 ATO-001


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