Health and safety regulatory approach

Our regulation focuses on business risk, recognising that business risk includes commercial risks and health and safety risks. Health and safety is not an overhead or an optional add-on. It is a fundamental requirement – and it is good for business.

Our health and safety regulatory strategy

What we do, our focus and how we make sure that the health and safety of everyone associated with the rail industry is protected is set out in our health and safety regulatory strategy pdf icon PDF, 639 Kb.

What we do

The rail industry in mainland Britain is made up of many businesses. We oversee those businesses and how they work together to keep the rail system safe.

A business will be safe if its people manage risks effectively every day. Our role is to motivate businesses to have excellent health and safety management and to check that they identify and assess risks properly, control them effectively and comply with the law.

We recognise that any business which either creates a risk or is partly responsible for a shared risk, must effectively manage that risk. This is irrespective of that business's profitability, availability of resources, or how long any contract they hold has left to run. Although ORR is also their economic regulator, this applies as much to ORR's dealings with Network Rail and HS1 Ltd as with any other companies. As the economic regulator for Network Rail, we decide what it has to deliver (its outputs) and how much this should cost. When we do this, we take safety into account so that the government's priorities are met. Quite simply, these are:

  • a rail industry that maintains a high level of safety
  • controls its costs and delivers both value for money for the taxpayer
  • a good service to its customers

Our major concern is to secure high standards of protection from train-crash risk without businesses losing sight of other risks that need to be controlled, such as asbestos or falls from height.