Tuesday 29 October 2013
Railway Safety

UIC Safety Platform Plenary Meeting, UIC Seminar “Safety of the Rail System”

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The UIC Safety Platform Plenary meeting takes place once a year; it is open to UIC members all over the world. The meeting was led by the Chairman Peter Kleinschuster (ÖBB) and a Russian delegation attended the meeting for the first time.

The same day in the morning a short Steering Group meeting took place.
During the “informal session” (the first part of this Steering Group meeting) the participants were informed about significant developments in the field of railway safety, accidents and incidents. The second part was dedicated to developing a procedure for rapidly sharing information about major accidents between the Steering Group members on a confidential basis and further activities to develop a media kit on railway safety, following the discussion during the extraordinary meeting of the Steering Group on 29 August.

The UIC General Director, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, attended the plenary meeting at the beginning to welcome the participants and to inform them about the future direction and activities of UIC as a worldwide organisation, especially as a technical platform for the railway actors and the importance to deal with safety as part of a rail system approach.

The chairmen of the Safety Platform Working Groups presented their work items:

System Safety Management Group (SSMG)/CER Safety Support Group

  • Common Safety Methods for Risk Acceptance Criteria (CSM-RAC)
  • The European approach to create a “Single Safety Certificate”
  • Roles and tasks of the actors in the rail transport chain
  • Common Safety Performance/Common Safety Indicators
  • ERA Task Force “Quick response”
  • Certification of Entities in Charge of Maintenance (CECM)

Occupational Health and Safety Group (OHSG)

  • Management of noise risk in the work place
  • Statistics on safety at work
  • Contractor safety
  • Prevention and mitigation of health risks arising from dust and fumes
  • Track worker warning system

Human Factors WG

  • Safety Culture
  • Integration of Human Factors into organisation
  • Preparing staff for heavily-disrupted situation (study)
  • Human Factors Newsletter

Safety Performance Group (SPG)/Safety Database (SDB)

  • SDB Activity Report
  • Benchmarking of selected events, focus on accidents in stations in the 2013 report
  • Ongoing monitoring of data quality
  • Developing communication tools, together with the communication department
  • Providing support to establish safety databases also in non-European regions

International Railway Safety Network (IRSN)

  • Results of questionnaires on safety related issues
  • Exchanging safety experience and backgrounds
  • Improving quick mutual information about major accidents
  • Learning from each other

Isabelle Fonverne informed participants about activities on Level Crossing Safety:

  • International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD) on 7 May 2013, during the “International Road Traffic Safety Week”; www.ilcad.org
  • Official meeting hosted by UN ECE in Geneva; 6th edition in 2014: 3rd June
  • Preparing a multidisciplinary group on level crossing safety to be hosted at UNECE in Geneva, kick-off meeting on 20 January 2014
  • Global Level Crossing & Trespass Symposium, Chicago, 4 – 8 August 2014

Meryem Belhaj announced the International Workshop on “Human Factors in Investigation of Accidents/Incidents”, which takes place on the 10 – 11 February 2014 in Paris/UIC.

Peter Gerhardt informed participants about further global activities of the UIC Safety Unit:

  • Establishing Regional Safety Databases outside of Europe
  • Collecting feedback from the “International Railway Safety Conference” (IRSC), which took place from 6 – 11 October 2013 in Vancouver

Josef Stoll from DB AG announced the next IRSC and invited the participants to attend this event which takes place from 12 – 17 October 2014 in Berlin/Germany.

The participants confirmed the proposed Safety Platform Work programme and budget for 2014.

On behalf of the UIC Security Division, Jose Pires (Security Senior Advisor), informed participants about the division’s activities. Security is an increasing concern for the railway sector as a shared responsibility between railways and national authorities that needs a coherent international approach. The UIC security platform includes permanent and ad-hoc thematic working groups and has held an annual World Security Congress since 2000! Currently the structure works with three permanent WGs: Human Factors, Technology, Procedures and Regulations, and two ad-hoc topics at the request of members: Border Crossing, International Traffic, Security. Besides the work developed in these areas, the UIC Security is also involved in a number of EU research projects. Participating in these projects offers UIC members the opportunity to obtain valuable information on the state-of-the-art security technologies (UIC Security Division current project participation: www.protectrail.eu - www.restrail.eu - www.secret-project.eu - www.ciprnet.eu).

On the following day, 23 October 2013, the UIC Seminar “Safety of the Rail System” took place, jointly organised with the UIC Rail System Department.

The first part of the seminar in the morning was related to Human Factors issues.
Dr Jürgen Rückheim, Vice-President of Storengy, presented “The Safety Culture at Storengy – Current Status and Challenges”. The following presentation on “People at the heart of performance” was presented by Christian Neveu, Chairman of the UIC Human Factors AG/SNCF) and Bernad Penners (Safety Human Factors Expert/Infrabel).

The afternoon session was dedicated to technical aspects of railway safety.
The first presentation, given by Hans-Günther Kersten, Director of the UIC Rail System Department, informed participants about “Safety at the heart of the system”.

The following presentation by George Barbu (UIC Senior Advisor RSD) was dedicated to “Signalling in the service of Level Crossing Safety – a common concern – the viewpoint from the railway signalling perspective”.

The last presentation by Dr Marc Antoni (SNCF/UIC Senior Advisor RSD) informed participants about new projects in 2014 and was named “Safety and technical interfaces; the way to critical computerised system design rules allowing exhaustive automatic testing before putting into service.”

At the end of the day the Chairman of the UIC Safety Platform, Peter Kleinschuster (ÖBB), chaired an interesting podium discussion with all the speakers and closed the seminar.

The UIC Safety Platform Plenary meeting in 2014 is set to be held on 6 November in Paris/UIC HQ.

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