The Minister in charge of the UK’s railway performance has commended the industry’s commitment to safety on the track, at an event held in London yesterday.
MP Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, praised safety professionals gathered at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health’s (IOSH) Rail Industry Conference 2011.
Mr Baker said:
“We do take it for granted that we will arrive safely. And there is good reason, people no longer question whether the railways are safe, because the reality is that in recent years rail safety performance has increased significantly.
“We are one of the safest railways in Europe, and that’s a tribute to people in the industry who have striven hard, to ensure that the railways are safe.”
Over 130 safety professionals from across the industry gathered at the conference to hear from Mr Baker and other key industry figures, including Anna Walker, chair of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), and Terry Morgan CBE, chairman of Crossrail.
Iain Ferguson, chair of the IOSH Railway Group, said:
“As Norman Baker rightly pointed out, the rail industry’s safety record is good. However, as an industry this does not mean that we can afford to be complacent.
“There’s a need to do more within the industry when it comes to health and safety – both to maintain and improve standards.
“The McNulty report which was released earlier this year highlighted a number of areas where improvements need to be made both in the efficiency and effectiveness of what we do.
“We can and should work together as safety professionals within the industry and continue to improve our standards in all areas of safety and health.”
Now in its seventh year, the IOSH Rail Conference has become a key date in the diaries of safety professionals within the industry.
This conference also played host to the launch of a new industry award for occupational health ‘good’ practice.
IOSH’s Railway Group wants the award to encourage progression in health and safety and generate ideas within the sector.
Anna Walker, chair of the ORR, said:
“I’m really pleased to see that the industry’s recent record on safety has been recognised and commended. I know that no one in the sector takes this for granted or is complacent.
“We are all aware in this time of economic stringency, the railways need to run safely.
“There are some big changes coming in the sector, and health and safety needs to remain at the forefront during these times.
“I delighted with the new IOSH Railway Group award, which I hope will encourage the ‘best practice’ to become ‘common practice’ within the industry.”