Health and safety report 2013

ORR's report on health and safety on Britain's railways in 2012-13: a foreword by the Office of Rail Regulation's chief executive and Director of Railway Safety.

Like last year, this year's health and safety report contains positive evidence that Britain continues to have one of the safest railways in Europe, with a number of successes:

  • London Underground Limited (LUL) again achieving zero industry-caused workforce and passenger fatalities;
  • a notable 6.4% reduction in the overall mainline system safety risk; and
  • continuing improvement to mainline workforce safety.

Download the Health and Safety Report 2013 pdf icon PDF, 1,190 Kb

Safety on Britain's railways is ORR's chief priority. Whilst evidence suggests that Britain's railways continue to manage risks well, we must not and will not become complacent. The recent runaway freight train incident and fire in Lac-Megantic Quebec, Canada and the passenger train derailment in Bretigny-sur-Orge in Paris, both starkly demonstrate the consequences of a single catastrophic incident: seemingly low levels of risk count for nothing when such tragic events occur.

Our draft determination for 2014-19 provides specific additional funding for Network Rail to improve track work safety, by improving electrical system isolations, the design of road-rail vehicles, alerts to warn workers on or near the track of approaching trains, reduce risks at level crossings. As part of our integrated regulatory approach, we decided to allow Network Rail more time to make their planned efficiencies in maintenance after careful consideration of their possible safety implications and we have also provided additional funding (a total of £400million) to enable Network Rail to make its civil assets, such as cuttings, tunnels and structures more sustainably resilient in the longer term and deliver the infrastructure outputs that taxpayers, passengers and others are funding it to deliver.

We applaud the successful delivery of a safe 2012 Olympics and Paralympics as a result of strong cross-industry co-ordination and cooperation, which included the involvement of our colleagues since 2009, during which London Underground Limited (LUL) and Transport for London's other services carried record-breaking numbers of passengers safely and efficiently, including enabling increased service accessibility. The lessons learnt from these successes are now being banked must become part of business as usual.

Further improvements to Britain's railways are possible. This report provides a detailed assessment for 2012-13, but looking ahead our priorities for 2013-4 include: continuing to promote further improved occupational health management, improving workers, especially track worker, safety and an integrated cross-office focus on ensuring the mainline industry's infrastructure assets are safer and more resilient.

Richard Price, Chief Executive, ORR
Ian Prosser, Director of Railway Safety, ORR

In this section:

Further information

ORR Health and Safety Report 2013

Last updated - 10 April 2014