The report of the study carried out by HSE in 1996 into the safety of the railway under the new privatised structure.
This document was published in March 1996 by Health and Safety Executive.
It was written by Health and Safety Executive.
The original document format was Scanned Images, and comprised 36 pages.
This document is Crown Copyright, and is subject to the terms governing the reproduction of crown copyright material. Depending on the status and age of the original document, you may need an OPSI click-use license if you wish to reproduce this material, and other restrictions may apply. Please see this explanation for further details.
"This report records the major findings of an in-depth inspection exercise. Our aim was to look in a thorough and concerted way at the management systems put in place by Railtrack to secure the safety of Britain's national railway infrastructure. In particular we were interested in Railtrack's arrangements for selection, monitoring and control of its contractors. The project complemented our other, more routine, tasks of inspection and investigation.
More than 2500 hours of effort by Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) were applied to this very important work. At its peak, the exercise involved more than 90% of HM Railway Inspectorate's field force and was the biggest single project in our history.
We have previously noted that, as measured by notifications of incidents on the former BR network, standards of safety on the railway are not in decline and it is a major finding of this report that there is much that is good in the way that risks of harm are being addressed by the many dedicated people who work on the railway. Rail remains the safest means of land transport.
However, despite the acknowledged efforts of what is a still relatively new company, we did find weaknesses in many of the formal systems by which Railtrack seek. to maintain health and safety, Some cause concern, but, in our judgement, at present, risks show no significant increase. We form this view partly because some weaknesses which we have now identified were, in retrospect, inherent in the systems inherited from BR. Moreover, and crucially, it is because change has not been so rapid that existing knowledge of, understanding and working relationships between ex-BR staff (who are now employed by a variety of organisations) has been lost.
The key message is that the weaknesses identified in this report should be addressed urgently before the often informal pattern of previous relationships decays and before any significant increase occurs in the use of contractors (whether ex-BR units or from non-railway backgrounds) in areas where their staff have had little previous experience."
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