Safety at Work Webinar - Protecting rail workers from trains

16 November 2022 - Online

UIC is pleased to (re)invite* you to a webinar dedicated to “Safety at work: protecting rail workers from trains” to be held online on 16 November 2022 from 1:00pm to 4:30pm CET.

*This webinar was lately postponed on 28th February, due to the arrival of the Ukrainian Crisis


The health and safety of the workforce, including subcontractors, must be at a high level in the railways.

This webinar focuses on four significant aspects of workforce safety:

  • Evaluation of safety PDCA-framework implemented in the Netherlands in 2005: effect on staff hit by train and compared to international numbers,
  • Contractor safety: client and contractor perspectives,
  • Separating by time or space for safer railway maintenance,
  • Digitalization and railway safety - rethinking worksite protection under ERTMS,
    The aim of this webinar is to showcase UIC members’ work to ensure continuous improvement in managing the health and safety of all rail industry employees, in particular infrastructure workers, whether they are employees or contractors.


Workforce safety is a broad term and many aspects of it are covered by duty holders’ safety management systems.

There is a strong focus across the UIC Safety Platform on improving infrastructure workforce safety. This calls for collaboration and sharing knowledge to bring about lasting change.

From the perspective of UIC members, the key health and safety challenges facing the industry can be summarised as follows:

  • A lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities, developing and maintaining competence, and safety culture among trackside workers and managers,
  • Inconsistency around planning and implementing safe systems of work that give a high level of protection,
  • Insufficient use of technology to reduce the risk to those working on or around the track,
  • Limited visibility on the part of management of the risk to infrastructure workers because of deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and assurance,
  • Collaboration to secure the required maintenance access.

Although there have been improvements in how occupational health and safety risks are managed, many tasks remain intrinsically hazardous. Significant benefits could be obtained if these tasks were performed automatically, remotely or at different times without compromising safety.

Where it is necessary for staff to go trackside, it is important that they minimise the time spent on the operational railway and, in particular, within the kinematic envelope of trains. Examples of risks to manage include:

  • Maintenance activities often performed at night and involving the use of heavy and cumbersome equipment,
  • Poor trackside access with badly lit and inadequate safe walking routes,
  • Unassisted lookout working, possession limit boards and earthing straps, often in the dark, to protect work sites,
  • Depot workers exposed to risks from traction power (diesel fumes and electrocution) and train movements.

Moreover, improving physical and mental health, regardless of whether it is work- or lifestyle- related, will help the rail industry to attract and retain high-calibre staff and minimise disruption from managing the effects of ill-health. It makes good business sense.

For this reason, initiatives to promote better health will be self-funding and should, over time, help reduce the industry’s costs as illustrated in the UIC report “Guidelines: improving health and safety when working with contractors on the railway”.

This webinar will present the key developments being led by UIC member organisations to address the above issues and will describe the important work being done to make working on the railway healthier and safer. The presenters are highly respected leaders in their respective fields, representing UIC member organisations from the UK, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands.


The webinar will be held online on 16 November 2022 from 1:00pm CET to 4:30pm CET.


Keynote speech (1:00pm – 1:10pm)
UIC Director General, Mr François Davenne

Part 1: Evaluation of safety PDCA-framework implemented in the Netherlands in 2005: effect on staff hit by train and compared to international numbers (1:10pm – 1:40pm)
Speaker: Mr Bart Hoogcarspel, Data specialist, Safety department – Policy and data, PRORAIL

  • Framework shared with contracters
  • Shared evaluation team
  • Effect of implementation in 2005 measured in 2015
  • Does the UIC-Safety database reflect a similar evolution?

Part 2: Contractor safety: client and contractor perspectives (1:40pm – 2:10pm)
Speaker: Ms Maria Hedqvist, Market and Planning, Transport Quality, Railway Safety, Trafikverket

  • Guidelines to improve health and safety working with contractors on the railway: a UIC tool to aid health and safety legal compliance
  • A way to achieve continuous improvement in health and safety performance when working with contractors
  • Applicable to contractual relationships within the rail industry
    -  Flexible enough to be applied to internal as well as external contractors
    - Equally applicable to sub- contractors (via main contractors)
  • A signpost document for organisations including where to find good practices.

Part 3: Safer railway maintenance (2:10pm – 3:05pm)
Speakers: Mr Allan Spence, formerly Director of Regulator Liaison, Network Rail, & Mr Nick Millington, Safety Taskforce Director, Network Rail

  • Setting a declared future
  • Vital importance of data and management information
  • Principles of safer systems of work (separation by time or space, minimising the scope for catastrophic consequence from human error)
  • Staff engagement and local leadership buy-in
  • Managed change to avoid consequential risk
  • Sustaining the change

Part 4: Digitalization and railway safety - rethinking worksite protection under ERTMS (3:05pm – 3:35pm)
Speaker: Mr. Leslie Steen, Program Manager Safer-W, INFRABEL

  • Current and future challenges in railway operations & maintenance
  • A two-step approach towards a better worksite protection
  • Technical solutions in scope
  • Key success factors

Coffee break (3:35pm – 3:45pm)

Q&A (3:45pm – 4:15pm)
Chair: Mr Fréderic Hénon, Head of Operations and Safety, UIC

Summing-up and close (4:15pm – 4:30pm)
Moderator: Mr Ali Chegini, Director of System Safety and Health, RSSB and Chairman of Safety Platform, UIC



For more information, please contact Ms Virginie Papillault

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Wednesday 7 September 2022