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Railway Safety (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2001

I. Introduction and summary

1. The Regulations were developed to address specific recommendations of the Southall Rail Accident Inquiry and the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry, Part 1 relating to the escape and organised evacuation from trains. They were also intended to extend the requirements for annual audits of health and safety management systems and to make a number of minor drafting amendments to typographical errors in the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations.

2. The Health and Safety Commission consulted on a number of proposals for possible inclusion in these amendments. The first consultation covered on-train data recorders, the organised evacuation of passengers from trains following certain equipment failures and minor corrections to the Railways (Safety Case) Regulations 2000. The second consultation responded to recommendation 62 of the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry, Part 1, which proposed an amendment to the 2000 regulations to make clear that train operators' safety cases should cover escape from train as well as organised evacuation. The consultation was extensive. Two of the proposals in the amendments were widely opposed those for on-train data recorders and those for the organised evacuation of passengers from trains. The Health and Safety Commission agreed that these are already covered satisfactorily by Railway Group Standards which have been developed within the industry in response to the recommendations of the Southall Inquiry, and which are binding on all train operators using the Railtrack operated infrastructure. There is a Standard which requires that all driving cabs which do not already have a data recorder to be retrofitted by the end of 2005, with the exception of cabs which are due to be permanently withdrawn by the end of 2007. There is also a Standard which requires operators to prepare detailed contingency plans, setting out the action they propose to take in the event of safety critical equipment failure and listing the stations at which passengers may leave a train in an emergency.

II. Purpose and intended effects of the measures

3. The proposed amendments will:

  • Extend the scope of train operators' safety cases to make clear that operators should adequately consider means of escape, as well as organised evacuation, as part of their safety case acceptance process. This was the original policy intent of the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations but is being clarified by this amendment - which arose from recommendation 62 of Part 1 of the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry Report. Train operators will have to amend their safety case to cover the issue (if it is not already covered) within three months, or by the time they are required to submit the major revision of their safety case under the 2000 Regulations, whichever is the later.
  • Extend the requirements for annual audits of health and safety management systems so that infrastructure controllers will in future be required to conduct an annual audit of any train operations they undertake, as well as of their infrastructure and station activities.
  • Make a number of minor drafting amendments to typographical errors in the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations.

III. Risks

4. Railway risk assessment has been the subject of a considerable amount of research in recent years. This has been in the form of the industry's own assessment of particular safety initiatives, research on the risk of passing signals at danger (SPADs), and wider research on trends in fatal accident risk.

5. In assessing the risks associated with these amendments, as already mentioned, the Health and Safety Commission undertook a consultation to consider the following areas of railway risk:

  • On-train Data Recorders
  • Failure of existing on-train Automatic Warning Systems (AWS)
  • Escape and evacuation

6. The direct safety risks associated with the absence of data recorders were thought to be small and unquantifiable, although data recorders would be expected to bring indirect benefits. The risk associated with AWS failure was the subject of some debate in the industry. The best final estimate is that this risk would contribute only around 3% to current rail accident risk. Escape related risks were also difficult to quantify, but have been examined extensively by both the Southall Rail Accident Inquiry and the Ladbroke Grove Rail Inquiry, Part 1.

IV. Benefits

7. These proposals will clarify beyond doubt that train operator's safety cases should cover means of escape from trains as well as evacuation. They will also clarify the fact the annual audits of safety management systems are required to be undertaken by infrastructure controllers of their own train operations.

V. Compliance cost estimates

8. Both train operators and infrastructure controllers will need to take note of the changes. However, the amendments to the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations are intended to clarify the existing policy intentions of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate in these areas and in practice the existing practices and plans of infrastructure controllers or train operators may be little altered. Very few (if any) existing train operators safety cases will need to be changed solely because of these proposals. Although the amendments affecting infrastructure controllers (principally London Underground) do extend the legal requirements in some cases, again, in practice the required actions are already being taken. No significant additional costs have been identified.

VI. Other costs not subject to the Regulations

Impact on small and medium sized businesses

9. The regulation will apply to all train operators. There will be no disproportionate effect on smaller operators.

Budgetary Costs

10. There are not thought to be any additional costs associated with these amendments.

Publicity Costs

11. None.

Enforcement Costs

12. HSE's Railways Inspectorate (HMRI) will not incur any additional ongoing administrative costs as a result if these amendments because they are intended to clarify the policy intent of the Safety Case (2000) Regulations.

Total compliance costs to industry

13. No significant additional costs to the industry are estimated. The total net present cost to industry of the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations was estimated at between £24 million and £37 million to 2009. We do not believe there are any other significant costs associated with these proposals.

VII. Balance of costs and benefits

14. There are no direct costs and benefits associated with these proposals because the amendments to the Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations are intended to clarify the existing policy intentions of Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate in the areas described earlier. In practice the existing practices and plans of infrastructure controllers or train operators may be little altered.

VIII. Monitoring and review

15. The Government has asked the HSE to monitor and evaluate these Railway (Safety Case) 2000 Regulations.

Contact point
For further information please contact:

Alan Deighton
Railways International & General
Zone 3/29, Great Minster House
Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions
76 Marsham Street
LONDON
SW1P 4DR

Tel. 020 7944 6616
e-mail: alan.deighton@dft.gsi.gov.uk

September 2001

Department for Transport, Local Government & The Regions

September 2001

Regulatory Quality Certificate

 

Regulatory Quality Declaration.

I have read the Regulatory Impact Assessment and I am satisfied that the balance between cost and benefit is the right one in the circumstances.

 

Signed by the responsible Minister ................................................

Date ................................................

 

Contact point:
Alan Deighton, Railways Directorate, DTLR
020 7944 6616

Date: September 2001