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Railway Safety Management Systems: Experiences to Date and Lessons Learned

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  1. Railway Safety Management Systems:Experiences to Date and Lessons Learned Presentation to IRSC 2005 Luc Bourdon Director General, Rail Safety Transport Canada Cape Town October, 2005

  2. Agenda • The evolution of rail safety in Canada • 1989 Railway Safety Act • What is a Safety Management System? • TC’s RSMS Audit Program • Audit Results To Date • Lessons Learned/Challenges • Conclusions

  3. The Evolution of Rail Safety in Canada • 1867: The Constitution Act, (formerly the British North American Act) cites the Intercolonial Railway as part of Canada’s Constitution. • 1868: The Railway Act creates the Railway Committee. • 1903: The (Canadian) Railway Act creates the Board of Railway Commissioners.

  4. The Evolution of Rail Safety in Canada (cont’d) • 1967: Board of Transport Commissioners is replaced by the Canadian Transportation Commission (CTC). • 1987: National Transportation Agency (NTA) replaces the CTC. • 1989: The Railway Safety Act transferred the responsibility of rail safety to Transport Canada.

  5. 1989 – Railway Safety Act • The Railway Safety Act came into force on January 1, 1989. It established a new regime for the regulation of “railway safety in Canada founded on the principles that railway management must be responsible and accountable for the safety of operations and that the regulator must have the power to protect public and employee safety”.

  6. 1989 – Railway Safety Act (cont’d) • The Act called for a comprehensive review of the new regime including an evaluation of its impact on the safety of railway operations within five years (1994 at the latest). • Although, the Railway Safety Act was reviewed in 1994, it was also revisited in 1997. • The Railway Safety Act was officially amended in 1999.

  7. Amendments to 1989 Railway Safety Act • The Railway Safety Act was amended in 1999 based on the recommendations generated by the 1994 and 1997 reviews. • One of the key recommendations that was retained, was to adopt a more modern regulatory regime by requiring the railway to implement safety management systems. • On March 31, 2001, the railway SMS Regulations came into force.

  8. What is an SMS “a formal framework for integrating safety into day-to-day railway operations and includes safety goals and performance targets, risk assessments, responsibilities and authorities, rules and procedures, monitoring and evaluation processes.” (RSA)

  9. SMS Regulations Evolution of TC Compliance Monitoring Approach Changes in the Railway Industry (more, new railways) Railway Safety Management System Requirements Amendments to the Rail Safety Act - principle of railway responsibility Concerns raised by Derailments

  10. Understanding Safety Management Systems Loss Prevention Theory • losses are the consequence of the interaction or coincidence of a series of deficiencies within a “system” The Safety Management System Concept • to prevent losses, it is necessary to control the entire “system” from which the loss can arise -- which is ultimately an issue of management policy and practices

  11. Railway Obligations • Section 2 - Implement/maintain a SMS with specified components • Safety Policy, Annual Safety Targets and Associated Safety Initiatives • Safety Authorities, Responsibilities and Accountabilities • Employee and Representative Involvement • Compliance with Applicable Regulations, Rules, Standards and Orders • Risk Management Process

  12. Railway Obligations (cont’d) • Risk Control Strategies • Accident and Incident Reporting, Investigation and Analysis • Skills, Training and Supervision • Safety Performance Data Collection and Analysis • Safety Audit and Evaluation • Corrective Action and Development, Approval and Monitoring • Documentation


  14. TC’s RSMS Audit Program • Pre-Audit (Documentation) • To determine if the company has produced the documentation stipulated by the regulation • To prepare for the Verification audit by documenting (mapping) specific references within the companies documented process • Verification Audit • -To assess implementation and effectiveness

  15. SMS Audit Results to Date • Some success, notably at Management Level • Improvements needed: • “Silos” vs overall systems approach • Risk Assessment: Need to “Walk the Talk” • lack of “triggers”, training • Involvement of Employees: better – but can improve • “Pass/Fail” attitude vs Continuous Improvement

  16. Lessons Learned/Challenges • Integrating SMS with existing Programs & Practices • A new direction for Transport Canada Rail Safety • Addresses organizational risk factors within all levels of a Railway • Systems-based thinking

  17. Lessons Learned/Challenges (cont’d) • Harmonizing RSMS Regulations with existing prescriptive requirements • Performance-based RSMS regulations: • preventative thinking • puts onus for safety management on Railways • Flexibility in determining best regulatory framework

  18. Lessons Learned/Challenges (cont’d) • A changing approach to Regulatory Oversight • Cultural change: from inspecting to auditing • No one-size fits all approach – recognize differences in size/nature of Railways • Auditing challenges: need for training & education • Incentivefor companies to establish/maintain effective SMS

  19. Conclusion SMS leads to an enhanced safety culture – it is a journey requiring cultural change on the part of the Railways and the Regulators

  20. Questions? www.tc.gc.ca