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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Network Rail welcomes publication of independent safety report

Network Rail today welcomed the publication of the report by the independent Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and announced that it would act to enhance its safety culture.

The 99 page report, commissioned by Network Rail’s board, concluded that there has been significant – around 34% – under-reporting of ‘over-3-day injuries’ amongst staff and contractors since 2005. There were several causes of under-reporting including misinterpretation of reporting requirements and fear felt by Network Rail staff and contractors if they reported accidents. The report concludes that there was no link between this under-reporting and executive bonuses.

Rick Haythornthwaite, Network Rail’s chairman, said: “I’m grateful to the RSSB for its work and to the Office of Rail Regulation and Unite for bringing this issue to our attention. While we can take some comfort from the report’s clear conclusion that there was no link between under-reporting and executive bonuses, Network Rail needs to heed the lessons in this report if it is to achieve its ambition of a world class safety culture.

“Enhancing safety, both at Network Rail and its contractors, will be at the top of David Higgins’ in-tray when he starts as chief executive. Under David’s leadership I am expecting the company to deliver a step change in safety.”

Since it commissioned the review Network Rail has re-enforced its safety reporting with additional guidance and training on the requirements of RIDDOR and is enhancing its safety training strategy. The company will be reviewing existing safety data assurance and reporting, and consulting unions on enhancing safety culture.

Peter Henderson, Network Rail’s acting chief executive, said: “Enhancing the safety of the railway and establishing a more open culture is a complex issue. To achieve our safety ambitions, we will work together with our contractors, unions and other stakeholders and use these findings to help develop a wide-ranging safety plan.”

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