Impact of ROGS

This page contains findings from independent research on the impact of Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS) on the rail industry.

Noble Denton Associates carried out a baseline survey in 2007 on the performance and impact of ROGS as part of a three-year monitoring and evaluation exercise. Further surveys were carried out in 2008 and early in 2009. The final survey was undertaken at the end of 2009. 

The report of the final survey pdf icon PDF, 1,262 Kb provides a good indication that the original objectives of ROGS have been met with some ongoing work needed to improve safety verification processes and fatigue management. We therefore have confidence that the legislation is helping to maintain national standards of rail safety in line with EU requirements and we are striving for continuous improvement.

The original ROGS objectives were:

  • Objective 1: (a) Transferring the mainline (this transfer included some non-mainline operations e.g. London Underground) railway industry from a system of railway safety cases to a system of safety certification and authorisation; and (b) Ensuring the UK can respond to common safety targets in future;
  • Objective 2: (a) Reduce the number of railway operators that have to seek formal permission to work on the railway; (b) Producing a minimum set of requirements for a SMS so that safety certification is more streamlined and better targeted, less bureaucratic and quicker for duty holders; and (c) Redirecting inspection towards checking on the ground that operators are controlling their operational risks.
  • Objective 3: (a) Transport operators and infrastructure managers working together to ensure system safety; and (b) operators identifying appropriate forms of cooperation that complement the measures they are taking to comply with their own safety duties;
  • Objective 4: (a) Removal of the existing requirement on the non-mainline railway for formal approval by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) before introducing new or altered works, plant or equipment; and (b) Replacing this requirement so that duty holders obtain safety verification from an independent competent person (ICP).
  • Objective 5: (a) Changing the definition of safety critical work from broad titles to actual work; (b) Safety critical tasks must be carried out by a person assessed as being competent and fit for work; (c) Remove the requirement for safety critical workers to carry a formal means of identification; and (d) Require a change in approach from simply controlling the number of hours for preventing fatigue to one of requiring arrangements to be implemented that control risks such as the pattern of working hours and roster design.

The report confirmed that objectives 1, 3 and 4 had been fully met and also indicated that Objective 2 (b) and 2(c) are on their way to being met. The changes made by ROGS ensured Objectives 2(a) and 5(c) were met. Objective 5(d) has yet to be met.

The overall key findings of the final survey were as follows:

  • 90% of organisations believe that changes made as a result of ROGS are having a positive or neutral impact on their business.
  • In addition, 70% agreed that the standards of safety had remained the same under ROGS and 43% of respondents believed ROGS had changed the way safety is managed.
  • The majority of respondents indicated safety verification, safety certification and safety authorisation had not changed safety standards, consistent with previous year's findings.
  • The number of people thinking that more could be done to reduce the administrative burden of ROGS has steadily decreased over the four surveys.
  • The safety culture findings were generally positive; the only area that did not score so favourably was in relation to the reporting of near misses.
  • All respondents who asked ORR for help in 2009 received help. 92% of organisations described the help they received from ORR as either 'good' or 'excellent'.
  • 'identifying/appointing an ICP and 'knowing when to apply safety verification' were the most common challenges mentioned by respondents.

Market study

ORR also carried out a research market study to:

  • assess whether the requirement to obtain safety authorisation or certification could be a barrier to entry into Great Britain's market(s) for the provision of mainline passenger and freight transport following the implementation of ROGS; and
  • recommend any steps we could take to further reduce any safety barriers that may exist, including, for example, amending our own approach, improving access to information about how to obtain authorisation or certification or other actions.

Our findings support the conclusion that ROGS implementation in GB has been successful in speeding up the accreditation process and streamlining requirements across member states while maintaining and improving health and safety standards. We found no evidence to suggest that obtaining new certification and/or authorisation is a barrier to entry but on the contrary we found that ROGS appears to improve the conditions of entry, consistent with the aims of facilitating an open market for rail transport.

Further information