Why are safety management systems essential in the Rail Industry? 

Why are safety management systems essential in the Rail Industry? 

Safety Management Systems are one of the most helpful tools in managing Work Health Safety. As an employer, you have a duty of care to employees and therefore have to manage safety measures appropriately. From monitoring and reducing incidents, to auditing safety procedures, it is important to make an ongoing commitment to safety management.

This is especially true in the Railway Industry, where employers and workers can often be at a higher risk. 

What are the added risks when working in the Railway Industry?

All industries need effective safety management measures, however in higher risk industries safety systems can be the difference between life and death. With higher risk consequences, and a higher likelihood to happen, the railway industry relies heavily on effective safety management systems.

Some of the additional hazards that are present in the Railway Industry are:

  • Falling from heights
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Dangers of trips and slips
  • Hazard working with high voltage
  • Hazard working with fast moving trains
  • Biological hazards (COVID-19 related risk of working on a public railway network)

RAIL SAFETY NATIONAL LAW – SECTION 99

In terms of the specific law regarding to safety management systems in the Railway Industry, the Rail Safety Law Section 99 states that:

“A rail transport operator must have a safety management system for railway operations”

Hence, safety management is a legal requirement when working in the Railway Industry and is an essential for any business working in Rail. The law also states that these safety management procedures need to be evidenced in writing, which is where a digital safety management system can be very helpful.

What does a safety management system need to include?

Firstly, the law states that the safety management system must have an identified person who prepares and monitors it. This means that a business has to allocate the responsibility to an employee. Plus, the business needs to allocate the responsibility of implementing the safety management system changes. In bigger companies, there will likely be a whole safety management team who will work on a comprehensive safety plan. 

The Rail Safety National Law states that the operator needs to include the following in their safety management system:

“(a) measures to manage identified risks to safety for the purposes of interface agreements;

(b) a security management plan;

(c) an emergency management plan;

(d) a health and fitness management program;

(e) a drug and alcohol management program;

(f) a fatigue risk management program”.

How can Railway Businesses implement effective safety management?

Working with skilled professionals who know how to create and implement safety systems is essential. Once you have these employees in place, it is important to empower them to create the best rail safety management plan possible.

Digital safety management software can be a great way to empower your safety team to provide an effective rail safety management plan.

A rail safety management system needs to include:

  • Identifying current hazards and looking at past incidents
  • Analysing current risk using a risk matrix: working out how likely the risk is to happen and what the consequences of that risk are
  • Creating procedures that ideally eliminate the risks, or at least reduce them
  • Monitoring the effectiveness of the procedures and controlling actions
  • Auditing the safety management procedures and changing them in line with environmental changes or changing risks

Minimising Risk In The Railway Industry

Beakon Software helps businesses minimise risk in the railway industry and meet compliance demands. Safety Management Systems enable businesses to stay on top of their safety procedures and retain a digital trace of their safety management efforts.

Beakon’s class-leading system enables employees and/or contractors to report incidents, hazards, and near misses. You are then able to classify and manage incidents across the whole business and apply cost-efficient strategies to manage and minimise workplace risk.

Check out the Safety Management Systems from Beakon.