Safety Rule Management Within Railways

Safety Rule Management Within Railways


L Larsen, Danish Transport Research Institute, DK; A Hale, T Heijer, Delft University of Technology, NL; D Parker, University of Manchester, UK; L H Ringdahl, Institute for Risk Management and Safety Analysis, SE



During the last years substantial technological innovations and organisational changes such as decentralisation and privatisation has been going on within the European railways. One of the consequences of the organisational changes is that rules are no longer centrally defined for a national system as a whole. At the same time different countries have different rules concerning safety, which is one of the major obstacles of the integration of an European railway system. The development makes it necessary to work out some common demands and rules which are harmonised between the countries to ensure that those actors, who are trained in the rules in one country or one company, will also be able to work without risk in another country. If the existing level of safety is to be preserved and improved it is no longer sufficient to entirely rest on national rules and national practice.

Rule management within European countries is in focus as part of the EU-project SAfety Management in RAILway systems (SAMRAIL). The current status of rule writing is mainly based on a separate national long-term development, with lack of common practice and common safety philosophy. The objectives in the part of the project in question were to examine current procedures of how to develop and implement rules in various European countries and on basis of the results to propose a framework of rule management.

As a first step a preliminary ?ideal? framework for rule management was developed based on amongst others safety management theories. In the next step empirical case-studies were carried out concerning current procedures of rule management in the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and United Kingdom. The case studies were related to situations of planned infrastructure maintenance, as this is an important safety critical task that gives rise to significant hazards.

In the case-studies interviews were carried out based on the preliminary framework and focussing on development, implementation and evaluation of rules designed to promote safety in railway organisations. The interviews involved comparable staff between the countries from the regulatory, supervisory and approval bodies as well as safety supervisors or staff on a similar level and manager?s a few levels above that in various organisations within the railway system. Thus the case-studies explored the usefulness of the preliminary framework by comparing this ?ideal? process with what actually happens, identifying examples of good and bad practice and ? as a final step ? allowed for revision of the framework.

In the paper the method and results of the project will be presented.


Association for European Transport