Health and safety annual report 2015

Our report on health and safety on Britain's railways in 2014-15: a foreword by the Office of Rail and Road's chief executive and director of railway safety.

It is in everyone's interest for Britain's railways to be the safest they can be. Thanks to the women and men who work in the industry, our railways continue to have a good safety record and remain one of the safest in Europe.

Railway health and safety is of course central to the Office of Rail and Road's role. Our 2014-15 report sets out the current state of health and safety on our railways, trams, heritage and metro systems. It outlines our assessment of the year with a useful reference of comparisons and historical perspective – to see how far the industry has come, and what further work it needs to do. 

As the regulator, we have a unique view of the whole sector. We must not only regulate in the here and now, but also cast our gaze forward for future generations of passengers and workers. We take a proactive approach to ensuring safety risks are effectively managed and encourage the industry to use growth and renewal opportunities to enhance safety by design where possible.

Our message is very much about predicting and preventing health and safety issues before they happen. This is focused on factors such as safety in the design of trains, stations and infrastructure, management systems with an emphasis on continuous improvement, and sharing best practice.

In the words of William Blake: 'Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain.'

Despite the good record, there is still much to do. We have seen little change in 2014-15 as improvements plateau. We are working with the industry to address some significant challenges in managing sustainable growth safely and improving worker health right now and into the future. We expect the information and insights in this report will provide direction and focus to help move the industry forward to excellence. 

Good data is vital to our work. Our report would not be possible without cooperation from a range of bodies, groups and companies. It is important the sector also collects and uses its own health and safety data to keep its priorities visible and firmly on track. One of these priorities, which the data highlights, must be future resilience planning for the current highly skilled workforce. 

You may have noticed we are reporting under our new name, the Office of Rail and Road. In April 2015 we took on the monitoring of Highways England, who manage Britain's main road network. We look forward to using our expertise in rail to build on our work in roads. 

We have a rich and proud history on our railways. However we are not, and will never be, complacent about health and safety. Health and safety is everyone's job.

Richard Price, chief executive, ORR
Ian Prosser, director of railway safety, ORR

In this section:

Previous health and safety reports

Keeping Britain's railways safe