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Reporting systems

Reporting systems

Matt Clements

Engagement and Communications Manager

Companies rely on systems to report safety incidents. These systems help companies meet their own requirements to monitor their own safety management, but also provide a consistent and effective way for data and intelligence to be marshalled across the industry, and an opportunity to consider where effort and resources are going to be most effective to improve safety and business performance.

Several safety reporting systems exist where we provide either the lead or a supporting role.  We also facilitate the Data and Risk Strategy Group which sponsors RSSB to oversee the delivery of the industry-wide strategy for the collection, analysis and reporting of safety related data, and the development and use of risk tools and models.

In addition to reporting into industry-owned systems, organisations follow a set of criteria to filter out those events which need to be reported to other agencies such as British Transport Police, the Office of Rail and Road, the Health and Safety Executive or to the Rail Accident and Investigation Branch (RAIB).

The SMIS+ programme is delivering next generation safety reporting technology for the rail industry, making it easier for people to collect information, and extract intelligence. The first phase will see the replacement of the ‘old SMIS’ with the new Safety Management Intelligence System as the rail industry’s national database for recording safety-related events that occur on the rail network in Britain.

Some safety events have implications beyond a single company – if a part should fail on rolling stock used by more than one operator, for example – a ‘safety alert’ can be raised and sent out to the entire industry via Rail Notices, or – for higher-risk incidents – NIR Online.

​Of course, learning does not only occur after an event, many valuable lessons being revealed by what might be called ‘accidents waiting to happen’. Near misses involving trains or on-track plant should be input to SMIS, but some incidents – particularly those involving perceived deficiencies in culture, safety systems and arrangements – can be reported to CIRAS, the transport industry’s Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis Service.

Any incidents which have the potential to cause injury or damage, but which are not near misses with trains or on-track plant, may also be reported via the Close Call System.

Other requirements

There will be other obligations that rail companies need to follow in relation to reporting incidents, including the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR). Guidance on this can be found on the ORR website. 

In 2011 we were asked by the chairman of Network Rail to carry out an independent review of RIDDOR reporting by Network Rail staff and its contractors.