On 6 September 2005, HSC agreed to consult on the e xtension of safety verification to the mainline, to be included as part of the Government's consultation on interoperability .
The Health and Safety Commission issued this consultative document in compliance with its duty to consult, under sections 16(2) and 50(3) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, bodies which appear to it to be appropriate before submitting proposals for the making of Regulations and the issue of Approved Codes of Practice.
The Health and Safety Commission agreed the regulations as amended following consultation, and agreed that they should be forwarded to Ministers. However, the Commission noted that the Secretary of State could not be invited to make the regulations until Department for Transport had brought forward and consulted publicly on new regulations to implement European requirements on interoperability, now significantly delayed.
The Commission hopes that this consultation will start in June 2005 so that both the new regulations and the new interoperability regulations can come into force together in the Autumn.
The Health and Safety Commission published on 6 September 2004 a consultative document (CD) 'Proposals for new safety regulations for railways and other guided transport systems'. The proposals are in line with the Government's White Paper 'The future of rail', and propose, for the mainline network, a move to the European approach in the Railway Safety Directive as soon as possible. Although the responsibility for rail safety will change to a new body following forthcoming primary legislation, HSE intends to work closely with the Department for Transport and others to put in place a modernised legislative framework well before the change takes place.
The CD is a key stage in an on-going dialogue with stakeholders which started in Spring 2002, and has progressed in an open and iterative dialogue with stakeholders using a combination of 'one to one meetings, workshops, working groups, open meetings, as well as the HSC Discussion Document 'Safety on the Railway - Shaping the Future'. The proposals have also been informed by two independent evaluation studies of key aspects of the present regulatory requirements.
Specifically the proposed new framework will:
The proposed changes would be introduced through the Railways
and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations, and an
Approved Code of Practice on the management of risks from fatigue.
The proposals mark the biggest change to rail safety legislation
since privatisation in 1994. Three separate sets of regulations
dealing with safety cases, staff competence, fitness and fatigue
and approval of railway works, plant and equipment will be revoked
and replaced by one set of regulations.
HSC welcomes views from all interested parties on these proposals, in particular, on the overall approach, the detailed proposals for rail and other guided transport systems, and the transitional arrangements outlined to manage the move from the existing arrangements to the proposed new framework. Consultees are invited to complete a questionnaire on the proposals which is included in the CD and can be returned electronically to HSE.