We’re supporting the rail industry through collaboration

It was an honour to be invited to take part in a recent collaboration between ISLG, RSSB and the University of Portsmouth who held a workshop session at The Helicon in London, to help us link past and present, through learning from past accidents and incidents.

Read below, the words shared by Stuart Webster-Spriggs, HSQES Director of VolkerRail and current chair of ISLG.

“Whilst today’s rail industry has an excellent workforce safety record, sadly near misses and incidents do still occur. Upon investigation, it is sometimes found that similar cases have happened before – so how can we make use of those cases to help improve the present?
A collaboration between ISLG, RSSB and the University of Portsmouth saw a workshop session held at The Helicon to help us link past and present through learning from the past.

Guided by Greg Morse (RSSB), Mike Esbester (Railway Work, Life & Death project/ University of Portsmouth) and Stuart Webster-Spriggs (ISLG), and drawing on the experience and insights from invited attendees that included Heads of Health & Safety, Human Factors Specialists and Rail Investigators, we examined 7 cases from 1901 through to 1931 of railway worker incidents which have parallels or implications for current practice. We collectively assessed what happened in those cases and what similarities they have to present day issues (Margam, management of change, fatigue to name but a few!).

Whilst personal responsibility featured heavily as you would expect, we successfully identified the organisational accountabilities of planning and management to be the root causes in many of the cases. This drove the resulting learning points from the past with the intention of influencing current safety practices and challenging accepted norms which could be argued have had little effect on safety improvements in 100 years!

Look out for a future publication where the details will be shared and challenges to industry made…….”