Thursday, August 25, 2016

Britain Sees a New Safety Reporting System for Freight and Passenger Rail Stakeholders Alike

December Ushers in a Change from 20 Year Old Technology
Shipping News Feature
UK – The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the body set up following the tragic Paddington rail disaster of 1999 which cost 31 lives and injured over 500 others, has led a Safety Management Intelligence System programme to create a completely new on-line safety reporting system, ‘SMIS+’, to replace the existing SMIS management system which was introduced in the 1990’s, as the technology used then has become outdated. Both passenger and freight stakeholders will have full access.

The RSSB says this new and intuitive system offers the potential sought after by rail companies in order for them to make the next step change in health and safety risk control. SMIS is the rail industry’s national database for recording safety-related incidents that occur on the national mainline rail network in Britain, managed by RSSB which supports the collection, analysis and sharing of information. Organisations such as Network Rail, the train and freight operators enter about 75,000 events into SMIS each year, and now the industry wants to seize the opportunity to exploit more modern IT to transform it into a completely new cloud-based enterprise system.

SMIS+ will enable companies more freedom to create their own safety intelligence reports, using a far more contemporary and user friendly interface both to input and analyse the data, meaning they can carry on accessing high quality business intelligence to support safety decision making. Rail firms will also benefit from updated risk-based data sets, basically capturing and structuring the ‘shopping list’ of information rail companies need in order to do their analysis, and reflecting the way the railways have changed in the last 20 years, including the roll-out of new traffic management systems like the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

RSSB is formed from an eclectic mix of rail industry stakeholders, including Network Rail, infrastructure managers, train operating companies and rolling stock companies and is now working with its members to get ready for Phase 1, supporting a smooth transition from the 'old' SMIS, and ensuring people have the right opportunity for testing and training on the new Safety Management Intelligence System. RSSB’s Director of System Safety, George Bearfield said:

“Britain’s railways are among the safest and most intensively used in the world, built on a mature approach to health and safety, and evidence-based decisions grounded in high quality data. But the systems we’ve relied on thus far, won’t take us any further. Industry wants to exploit new technology to better understand and improve health, wellbeing and safety even further.

The Safety Management Intelligence System is a completely new product, representing a transformation in safety intelligence capability to the rail industry, and on 5 December will go live to replace the old SMIS system. This is the first step in developing an integrated safety intelligence platform and enterprise management system, upgrading and replacing older systems and databases. This demonstrates the industry’s strong commitment to working together to enhance our understanding of health and safety risk, and continually improve safety management.”

Photo: Image is a section taken from an original British Rail safety poster ‘CURIOSITY KILLS - Keep your mind on personal safety’.