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    DEATH AND INJURY RISES ON RAIL NETWORK IN 2013/14

    ORR and Network rail concerned as safety goes off the rails

    The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) published (25/07) the annual statistical release presenting trends in rail safety in Great Britain from 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.

    The data shows that during 2013-14:

    • Deaths – there were 345 fatalities on the mainline network, London Underground and other networks such as tramways and heritage railways, an increase of 19 compared with 2012-13. Of these fatalities, 304 were recorded as suicide.
    • Passengers – the number of passenger injuries on the mainline, London Underground and other networks rose to 11,047, an increase of 0.9% compared with the previous year. Slips, trips and falls – often a result of congestion or bad weather – accounted for the highest proportion of injuries on both the mainline network and London Underground. This category has accounted for the highest proportion of passenger injuries in every year of the time series. 
    • Workforce – the number of workforce injuries on the mainline network increased by 206 (3.5%). Workforce injuries on the London Underground network rose by 302 (8.3%) and other networks by 34 (16.9%).

    ORR’s Director of railway safety, Ian Prosser, said:

    “Managing safety on the rail network presents a major challenge to the industry as it faces pressures from rising numbers of passengers and trains. This is why there is no room for complacency and ORR is focusing attention on safety at stations and at track and rail constructions sites. The regulator wants to see improvements in safety culture with strong leadership across the rail sector.”

    Network Rail worker safety “unacceptable”

    Meanwhile, Mark Carne the Network Rail chief has told CN Plus that indirectly employed staff will be banned from managing safety on Britain’s rail infrastructure as Network Rail’s chief executive described workforce safety at his organisation and its contractors as “unacceptable”.

    Mark Carne said improvements had not been made to workforce safety over the last five-year control period and that:

    “our performance is not at all acceptable. Many other construction sectors have far better safety performance than the railway industry does”

    In the interview Mr Carne said the operator’s accident frequency rate had been “remarkably stubborn” and described fatalities among staff and contractors over the last five years as at “an unacceptable level”.

    During Control Period 4 (2008-13), 10 Network Rail employees or contractors lost their lives in workplace incidents.

    There were three workforce fatalities in 2013/14 and a total of 122 major injuries during the year, compared with 104 in the previous year.

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