ORR to focus on workforce safety in 2016-17

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is to focus on worker safety in its 2016-17 business plan, while holding the industry to account for performance and service standards and value for money.

The regulator says it will place a focus on: safer access to tracks and stations; better monitoring of bridges, embankments and other structures; and the training, supervision and monitoring of signallers. Occupational health will also come under increasing scrutiny, with initiatives on respiratory illnesses, vibration risks and musculo-skeletal damage as well as fatigue levels in safety-critical workers.

Signals passed at danger more than once are a cause of concern for the ORR, with the physical attributes of these signals and the human factors that lead to them being passed requiring “further attention jointly between operators and Network Rail”.

The ORR says that ‘near misses’ in the heritage railway sector have also “highlighted the continued need for competence management systems and monitoring of steam trains running on the main line”.

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