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The legislative framework

​​​​​​​​​​This page describes the legislative framework in which the rail industry operates, covering railway-specific regulations and some non-railway-specific regulations.

The regulations governing the management of change on the GB mainline railway system are set out in the Management of change webpage​.

The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations (as amended) 2006

The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 External link (ROGS) transpose the European Railway Safety Directive into UK law. ROGS came into force on 1 October 2006 and place a duty on railway undertakings (RU) and infrastructure managers (IM) to:

  • Develop safety management systems that must meet certain requirements.
  • Have a safety certificate (for RUs) or a safety authorisation (for IMs).
  • Show that they have procedures in place to introduce new or altered vehicles or infrastructure safely.
  • Carry out risk assessments and put in place the measures they have identified as necessary to make sure that the transport system is run safely.
  • Work together to make sure the transport system is run safely (ROGS regulation 22).

The ROGS (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013 External link came into force on 21 May 2013. The 2013 amendments include:

  • The requirement for entities in charge of maintenance (ECM) of freight wagons to have an ECM certificate
  • The removal of the requirement for mainline operators to carry out safety verification under ROGS (this requirement has been superseded by the equivalent requirement in the common safety method for risk evaluation and assessm​ent, Commission Regulation (EC) 352/2009)
  • The requirement for controllers of safety critical work to have suitable and sufficient monitoring arrangements in place

The ORR has published an unofficial consolidated version of ROGS External link, showing the amendments from 2006 to 2013.

The ORR has also issued a guide to ROGS External link.

RSSB has issued a duty of co-operation guide - part 1 / part 2 - relating to ROGS regulation 22 and guidance on the content of an SMS​.

Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011

The Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 (RIR 2011) External link transpose the Railway Interoperability Directive 2008/57/EC (‘the Directive’) into UK law.  RIR 2011 came into force on 16 January 2012, superseding the earlier Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2006.  RIR 2011 require new, upgraded, or renewed structural subsystems or vehicles to be authorised to be placed in service, before they can be put into use on mainline railway network in the UK (that is, before they are ‘used on or as part of the rail system in the United Kingdom for the transportation of passengers or freight or for the purpose for which it was designed’).

New, upgraded, or renewed structural subsystems or vehicles must comply with the relevant
Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) in order to demonstrate they meet the ‘essential requirements’. The essential requirements can be summarised as safety, reliability and availability, health, environmental protection, technical compatibility and accessibility.

The DfT has produced a number of interoperability help notes External link to provide guidance on RIR 2011.

The Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 External link came into force on 1 January 2014.  The Amendment Regulations:

  • Amend the definition of  ‘the Directive’ to incorporate amendments to the Railway Interoperability Directive (2008/57/EC)    
  • Amend the essential requirements to include ‘accessibility to persons with disabilities and persons with reduced mobility’.

Common Safety Methods

The Railway Safety Directive 2004/49/EC required ‘Common Safety Methods’ (CSMs) to be drafted by the European Rail Agency, working to a mandate from the European Commission.  The CSMs are defined as 'the methods to be developed to describe how safety levels and achievement of safety targets and compliance with other safety requirements are assessed'.  Currently, there are six CSMs:

All CSMs take the form of Commission Regulations External linkAs such, they are directly applicable in all Member States without the need for transposition into domestic legislation.  They therefore have the same force as a UK statutory instrument.

ORR has published guidance on the application of the CSM RA External link.  Further guidance about the CSM RA in the context of managing change on the GB mainline railway can also be found on the ‘Management of change’ page of this website.

RSSB has published a brief note for safety and assurance managers on ‘Understanding the new Regulation on the Common Safety Method for monitoring’.

Common Safety Targets

Common Safety Targets External link (CSTs) are European-wide safety targets. They are set by the European Railway Agency (ERA) ​and are designed for member states to achieve at their level, rather than at the level of the individual transport operator.

RSSB’s briefing note HLOS and Common Safety Targets – What you need to know provides some additional information about CSTs.

Non-rail-specific legislation

Health and Safety at Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 External link (HSWA) provides, for the duties of employers towards employees, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure their health, safety and welfare at work. Similar duties extend to people who are not employees, and to others who visit work premises. HSWA also provides for other duties, particularly around the use of articles and substances for use at work and the release of harmful emissions into atmosphere.

You can find more detail of these duties and other supporting information on the
Health and Safety Executive web page External link about the HSWA.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 External link (CDM Regulations) describe law that applies to a construction site during the period when construction work is being carried out.

For example, part of a station platform, usually subject to the requirements of a transport operator’s safety management system, would become subject to CDM Regulations while any construction work is being carried out.

Safety Legislation Update

RSSB publishes a quarterly Safety Legislation Update which aims to identify emerging health and safety legislation, which may affect the railway industry, and track its progress until it becomes law.

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