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Safety Audit of Iarnród Éireann

01 November 2007

Publication cover - Safety Audit Irish Rail 2007

The partial audit of Iarnród Éireann has shown the company continues to invest significant time and effort to develop an effective safety management system focused on addressing matters proportionate to risk.

Indeed, the range of initiatives underway is large and at times may be having an adverse effect as there is inter-departmental duplication of effort in a number of areas - for example, in relation to safety critical communications.

The Iarnród Éireann organisation is continuing to evolve and although the intent of the Company Safety Standard 3 process is understood, validation of change in accordance with the requirements of Railway Safety Standard 53 is taking longer than it should - in particular in respect of the splitting of the infrastructure department.

There are real pockets of good practice worthy of wider adoption across the company - for example the General Manager North and East's very systematic approach to safety management in an operational context.

Competence management is evolving and needs to move towards the standards being achieved in respect of train drivers through the network of District Traction Executives. Also of note are the steps being taken to manage the competence of shunters. Of particular concern are the arrangements in mechanical engineering where significant further time and effort needs to be expended to deliver a functioning competence management system; however plans and resources are being put in place to remedy this.

Of the technical recommendations the two of greatest immediate safety significance are those relating to the operation of the wheelshop at Inchicore works and lone working within the signalling element of the infrastructure department along with the related issue of lookout availability to structures, buildings and facilities.

All recommendations are summarised in Section 5 of this report.

Throughout this audit Iarnród Éireann personnel have been consistently supportive of the audit and have shown a positive approach to the audit team's requests for verification.