Considering the importance of safety in the Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI), a Safety Week in Rail Transport was held on 13 – 19 February 2016 in Tehran. The issues discussed included line side residents, rail safety, training, and research, safety culture and new perspective, construction safety and development of rail projects, safety and rail crossings, safety and transportation of dangerous goods.
On the second day of the Safety Week in Rail Transport, the School of Railway Engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology hosted the participants from the rail industry, the Advisor of the Minister for Roads and Urban Development, as well as the Manager of the UIC Safety Unit, Mr Peter Gerhardt, along with their presentations.
Dr Zakeri (Dean of the School of Railway Engineering), while welcoming the guests and the participants, said that this event was the second commemoration of the rail accident of Khayyam (Nishabur) on the second day of the safety week called the day of “rail safety, training, and research”. He added that the task of skillful experts is to investigate the risks and to present a way to reduce them. Dr Zakeri then continued to introduce the School of Railway Engineering and its capabilities.
Dr Bagheri, Advisor and Special Assistant to the Minister for Roads and Urban Development and the Member of the Scientific Board of School of Railway Engineering, then mentioned the efforts and the attention of the Minister for Road and Urban Development to the safety in rail transport and its importance and then told: undoubtedly, rail transport is the safest and cleanest type; and the need to pay more attention to safety is important in this industry.
He indicated that the involvement of all deputies of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development on the safety issue was one of the main characteristics of the Safety Week in the current year and stated that it was a way to pay for the debt to the casualties of the catastrophic accident of Khayyam. In his presentation entitled “A look into the authorised bodies of rail safety in the world and Iran”, Dr Bagheri dealt with issues such as authorised safety bodies in different countries (comparative study with Iran), safety database of rail incidents, and the comparison with Iran, present deficiencies in this regard, and etc.
He then gave the floor to Mr Peter Gerhardt, Manager of the UIC Safety Unit.
Mr Gerhardt mentioned the importance of level crossings in safety, UIC leaflets related to level crossings, the activity of international groups in this regard (UNECE, ELCF, IRU, …), presentation and statistics, ILCAD (International Level Crossing Awareness Day), and holding several international seminars such as the 14th Global Level Crossing and Trespass Prevention Symposium 2016, 12 – 16 June in Helsinki, Finland.
After that, Eng. Kulivand, Head of Iranian Red Crescent gave his speech on the management of help and rescue in rail accidents. He stated that the world pattern defined a decade known as safety in order for all units and departments to take steps to reduce 50% of road, air, and rail casualties and fatalities. He highlighted that the only executive way in this regard is to be faithful to the international conventions, security strategy of sustainable rail network, and to determine the goal and the infrastructure management.
Continuing with the programme, the students in involved organising the commemoration ceremony were acknowledged by awarding letters of appreciation.
Later, Eng. Khorasani, Director General of Safety and Supervision on the Railway Network at RAI, explained that the approach of the safety topic this year has been saving people’s lives. He added the major part of the accidents leading to deaths and injuries at railways has been due to trespass in the railways and he also highlighted the most important programmes of accident prevention.
After that, Eng. Ghanadan, Manager of Safety Promotion Unit at RAI, gave his speech. He declared that the concept of risk was the basis of prevention on the Safety Topic. He further explained that contrary to many industries, accidents in the rail industry were ranging and the different types of accidents made the topic od safety in the railways more complex. Eng. Bouzari was the last speaker of this ceremony to report on the Khayyam-Nishabur rail accident.
Later, three of Master of Science students at the Railway Engineering School compared the incident of the Lac-Megantic Train derailment in Canada with that of Nishabur in Iran.
This event continued with a few training workshops led by Shahid Beheshti University, Railway Research and Training Centre, Technical and Infrastructure Dept. of RAI, Fleet Dept. and Railway Engineering School and presentations of papers by the students.
On 15 February 2016, which was named “the day of Safety Culture and New Perspective”, Mr Peter Gerhardt, Manager of the UIC Rail Safety Unit, made a comprehensive speech for the enthusiastic safety staff of the transport sector in Road, Housing and Urban Development Research Centre.
Mr Peter Gerhardt firstly introduced the Rail Safety Unit at UIC and later reported on Safety Culture and its importance. The definition and concept of Safety Culture, the importance of its application in the rail sector, the objectives of UIC studies, motivations for company investment in safety culture, the required values, safety culture challenges, the required tools and good safety culture specifications were the most important topics addressed by them. At the end, there was a question and answer session regarding the topic of safety culture between Mr Gerhardt and Safety Sector experts.
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, the Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran (RAI) and UIC Middle East Regional Office acknowledge UIC for the valuable presence of Mr Peter Gerhardt at the commemoration ceremony of Safety Week.