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How we investigate incidents

When an incident or accident occurs, we receive notification in line with RIDDOR. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) and British Transport Police (BTP) also investigate certain railway accidents and our inspectors work in collaboration with them in order to share information.

The RAIB carries out the investigation into rail accidents and incidents without apportioning blame or liability, with a view to enabling lessons to be learned to improve safety on railways and prevent similar accidents and incidents. We may also investigate alongside RAIB in order to see whether there have been any breaches of health and safety law.

The RAIB can make recommendations to us, as the National Safety Authority. We consider their recommendations and, if appropriate, pass them on to dutyholders who are required to take them into consideration and, where necessary, act upon them.

Incidents and accidents that are not within the scope of the RAIB’s work may also be investigated by us to find out what caused them and whether there have been any breaches of health and safety law. This helps us check how effective the dutyholder’s health and safety management system is working and identify areas for improvement.

If it is appropriate, we have the power to prosecute under health and safety law. More information can be found in our enforcement section.

Our health and safety strategy

We have a health and safety strategy to ensure that safety of passenger, and that appropriate risk management policies of dutyholders are in place. The term 'dutyholders' means railway operators such as Network Rail, the train and freight operating companies and contractors who have responsibilities under health and safety law.

We have developed specific key safety topics to ensure that risks are being adequately managed by duty holders.

Last updated: September 2012