Tuesday 1 December 2020

Safety Platform plenary meeting held remotely on 17 November 2020

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Rolf Härdi (DB AG), Chair of the UIC Safety Platform, welcomed all participants, including those from the USA and Iran for the first time, and introduced Frédéric Hénon, UIC Head of Operations & Safety since July 2020 (see bio and photo).

One of the first items tackled on the agenda was the chairpersonship of the Safety Platform. Rolf Härdi’s first two-year mandate was coming to an end and the question was raised to the Chair if he wished to be confirmed for a second two-year-mandate.

Rolf Härdi responded that he had had the great honour of chairing this platform for two years now, but his mandate was coming to an end, although it could be renewed once. It had been a very exciting task. Despite the difficult Covid-19 period, the meetings had still been held, with this meeting once again showing that online meetings could be successful. He had been very impressed by the professionalism of the UIC Safety Team and the inspiring themes tackled within the Platform.

Nevertheless, Rolf Härdi informed participants that he did not want to apply for a second mandate.

He wished all the best to the next Chair who would undoubtedly be fully supported by the UIC Safety Team.

François Davenne thanked Rolf Härdi very much for his great commitment to UIC Safety Platform activities as a DB Director for Strategy, Innovation and new Technologies. He continued, saying that there was no innovation without safety; that safety was important, but improving safety management was even more important, and for this we had to rely on innovation. As such, Mr Härdi’s know-how in this domain had been much appreciated.

Safety needed to be included within the whole railway system and Mr Härdi had encouraged the continuity of the roadmap of the UIC Safety Platform and the Safety Unit to be discussed at the meeting. For example, human factors were at the core of the whole system.

New technologies needed to be integrated to improve safety.

He wished Rolf Härdi good luck, and highlighted that his continued involvement in any UIC body, as Chair or active participant, would be appreciated.

All members thanked Rolf Härdi very much for his commitment. A call for candidates to the UIC Safety Platform Chair would be sent to UIC members and Safety Platform members. The deadline for applying was set for 11 December 2020.
If the potential candidate was selected rapidly, his/her application should be endorsed by Safety Platform members during an extraordinary plenary session to be held remotely on 14 December (10:30-11:00) and ratified by the UIC General Assembly members on 16 December 2020.

Participants then had the opportunity to share information, best practices on Covid-19, safety events, innovations related to safety, and the activities of the Safety Platform Working Groups.

The UIC Safety Platform working groups are:

More information is available here: https://uic.org/safety/

Philippe Lorand, UIC Senior Advisor Passenger, gave an overview of the UIC Covid-19 Taskforce activities, “Building RAILsilience together” and the five UIC guidance documents & State of the Art, a UIC estimate of the economic impact of Covid-19 on the rail sector (mainly freight and passenger). He also presented what would be a return to a new normal world for rail for which UIC launched a study with the objective to draft a White Paper giving orientations for the future with a focus on 2025 and derive recommendations for the railway community and public authorities.
The scope included both freight and passenger transport. Input given by members to the Taskforce would be processed at the end of this year and published early 2021.


Members endorsed the UIC Safety confidential report 2020 sent before the meeting.
UIC then published the public report and related press releases on the UIC website, see links below:

The preliminary Safety Platform meetings calendar 2021 was set as follows:

a. Steering Group (SG) and plenary meetings:

  • 10 March 2021: SG remotely
  • 8 June 2021: SG face-to-face either at UIC HQ or abroad
  • 28 September 2021: SG at UIC HQ Paris
  • 16 November 2021: Plenary session at UIC HQ Paris

ILCAD 2021 campaign launch conference: 11 June 2021.
More information here: www.ilcad.org

All other meetings are on the UIC extranet: https://extranet.uic.org.

Rolf Härdi summarised the very rich and intensive meeting. He thanked all Safety Platform members for their kind and friendly support and contribution over the last two years of his chairpersonship. Members thanked Rolf Härdi for his commitment and wished him good luck for the future.

For further information, please contact Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Advisor, Safety and Interoperability: fonverne@uic.org

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UIC Safety Report 2020
Mr. Frédéric Hénon, Head of Operations and Safety - UIC
Rolf Härdi (DB AG) Chair of the UIC Safety Platform