Occupational Health & Safety

OHSG - Occupational Health & Safety Group

General information

The Group’s mission and purpose includes:

  • Promoting effective management of occupational health and safety throughout UIC member organisations.
  • Seeking and sharing examples of best practice to encourage mutual learning and convergence in occupational health and safety management practices.
  • Reviewing occupational health and safety measures applied by the member companies and national agencies and identifying strengths and areas for development.
  • Identifying and, where it is in the railways’ interest, seeking to influence relevant European directives and standards affecting occupational health and safety.
  • Considering methods for implementing occupational health and safety directives and standards appropriately within the railway context.

Chairman: Colin Clifton, South Eastern Railway

Members: OHSG is composed of occupational health and safety experts from the larger European railways and agencies.: LSER (ATOC), Infrabel, Network Rail, Prorail, RFI, SBB, SNCF, Trafikverket, Trenitalia, ZSR.

Members of other railways attend on a subject specific basis.

Meetings: 3 to 4 times a year

Current projects

  • Statistics on accidents at work

On-going work includes:

  • Discussion and analysis of typical occupational accidents within the railway sector
  • Examination and adaptation of technical directives on occupational health and safety
  • Collaboration with and contribution to the annual EU Safety Week
  • Collaboration with CER and the International Union of Railway Medical Services (UIMC) within the domains of staff selection, developing human resources and occupational medicine.

Work plan for the future

  • Management of noise risk
  • Development of guidance on effective accident and incident investigation
  • Study of safety distance from open tracks at different speeds of operation

UIC Contact

Meryem Belhaj: belhaj@uic.org


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Guidance on safety of persons working on or near railway lines
February 2012

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The principles and guidance contained in this document are concerned with the safety of any person working on or near the line. This includes all people who visit the track in the course of their duties.

In this document, the term ‘railway infrastructure’ means the running line and its immediate surroundings. Places such as block posts are therefore excluded from the definition for the purpose of this document.

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Guidance on managing safety risks related to the Influence of Alcohol, Drugs and/or Psychoactive Medication
February 2012

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The aim of these Guidelines is to promote a framework for the management system the UIC recommends all railway companies use to minimise the risks associated with issues related to drug and alcohol use by personnel working within the rail community.

These Guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive, however they recognise that in some countries prescriptive standards have been set by legislation and as a minimum these need to be complied with.

The Guidelines do not attempt to set any minimum requirements or standards for use by railway companies. Instead, they are intended to assist railway companies in the development of policies and standards appropriate to their undertakings.

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Guidance on the safe use of mobile phones and other portable electronic communication devices by railway workers
February 2012

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Mobile phones and other communications devices, offer many benefits and can be integral to safe methods of working, but they can also introduce risk.

Holding a conversation or using data services such as text messaging, e-mail, internet, video, etc. can distract those carrying out safety critical tasks such as driving or acting as a lookout or working in dangerous environments, potentially endangering themselves and others.

This document is intended to provide guidance on measures to manage and control these risks.

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Management of distressing events and prevention of post-traumatic stress
December 2011

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To draft a handbook comprising recommendations and best practices for railway undertakings and infrastructure managers on the basis of a strategy for managing potentially traumatic events and preventing post-traumatic stress.

Presentation of the handbook

The handbook is in two parts:

  • practical information sheets,
  • a more theoretical part.

The management of potentially traumatic
events is centred around five key phases:

  • risk assessment,
  • preparation and prevention,
  • intervention,
  • postvention and follow-up,
  • reporting.

The practical information sheets are intended for members of staff in the field, managers, support staff and executives. They provide in- formation and awareness-raising and training measures for before, during and after poten- tially traumatic events.

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Guidance on high visibility clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for track workers
May 2010

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This guidance has been prepared in order to propose best practice for Infrastructure Managers (IM) and Railway Undertakings (RU) in respect of the issue and use of high visibility clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) for personnel working on or near rail infrastructure.

High-visibility clothing and other PPE is provided to these employees so that they can work safely and be seen in good time by the drivers of approaching trains. This guidance recommends that in order to assist drivers to recognise these personnel a standard colour code be used at least for the background material of high-visibility clothing.

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