This page explains the regulatory requirements for managing safety on the railways, tramways and other guided transport systems. It details who needs to comply and what they must do to meet minimum standards in Great Britain and across the European Union.

The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (ROGS) provide the regulatory regime for rail safety, including the mainline railway, metros (including London Underground), tramways, light rail and heritage railways.

The Regulations implement the European Railway Safety Directive (2004/49/EC), which aims to establish a common approach to rail safety and support the development of a single market for rail transport services in Europe.

We have published an approved list of transport systems that are excluded from the mainline railway.

The regulations require most railway operators (known as transport operators) to maintain a safety management system (SMS) and hold a safety certificate or authorisation indicating the SMS has been accepted by the Office of Rail and Road.

For more information about the performance and impact of ROGS, including the results of an independent review of the regulations, please read our impact of ROGS page.

Changes to ROGS?

ROGS have been amended by the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 and the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2013. From 26 August 2011 ROGS introduced the concept of an 'entity in charge of maintenance' (ECM).

These changes are included into the unofficial consolidated version of ROGS.

Who must comply with ROGS?

The ROGS regulations have changed the way our inspectors work. The regulations require most railway operators to maintain a safety management system (SMS) and hold a safety certificate or authorisation indicating the SMS has been accepted by us. One of our primary roles is to check that the railway operators have, and implemented, an effective health and safety management system that protects workers, passengers and others from harm, so far as is reasonably practicable.

The following entities must comply with ROGS:

  • Transport undertakings - Any person or organisation that operates a vehicle in relation to any infrastructure. People or organisations that only carry out work in 'engineering possessions' (meaning sections of track closed to normal traffic for maintenance work) are not included. Only some of the duties in ROGS apply to them.
  • Infrastructure managers - Any person or organisation responsible for developing and maintaining infrastructure or for managing and operating a station. Also a person or organisation that manages or uses that infrastructure or station or allows it to be used for the operation of a vehicle.
  • Transport operator - any transport undertaking or infrastructure manager.
  • An 'entity in charge of maintenance' (ECM) - any person or organisation that is responsible for the safe maintenance of a vehicle and is registered as an ECM in the national vehicle register. This can include people or organisations such as transport undertakings, infrastructure managers, a keeper (usually the owner of a rail vehicle) or a maintenance organisation.

What must I do to meet the requirements of ROGS?

The most important parts of ROGS are as follows:

No one can operate vehicles or manage infrastructure on GB railways unless they have obtained the appropriate safety certificate or authorisation from us. Applicants need to show how their safety management system allows them to run their transport system safely.

Safety Management Systems

A Safety Management System (SMS) is a formal arrangement for managing a safe working environment. It defines roles and responsibilities, sets arrangements for safety mechanisms, involves workers in the process and ensures continuous improvement. All operators and dutyholders are required to have in place arrangements for managing safety risks and monitoring the performance of their safety system.

We will focus on checking that safety management systems are effective and fit for purpose. Lower-risk sectors (tramways and transport systems that do not run at speeds above 40 kilometres per hour) do not need safety certificates, but must still have a written safety management system in place.

Risk assessments

ROGS place a specific duty on transport operators to carry out risk assessments and put in place measures necessary to make sure the transport system is run safely. Mainline transport operators must also comply with the common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment.

Non-mainline operators are responsible for ensuring that they have procedures in place to introduce new or altered vehicles or infrastructure safely. Where a new or significantly increased risk is involved, they must appoint an independent competent person (either from the organisation, or externally) to help them go through the right processes. This duty no longer applies to mainline operators as they now have to meet the requirements of the Commission Regulation setting out a common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment.

Any mainline transport operator who holds a safety certificate or safety authorisation must send us an annual report on their safety performance.

ROGS also gives operators (and other people such as contractors) a duty to work together to make sure the transport system is run safely.

Operators and their contractors have clear duties under ROGS to make sure that employees who carry out safety critical tasks are suitably competent and fit to do so. This includes making sure these employees are not affected by fatigue.

ROGS requires that no person may place in service or use a vehicle on the mainline railway unless that vehicle has an entity in charge of maintenance (ECM) assigned to it, and that the ECM is registered in the National Vehicle Register (NVR). This has to happen before the vehicle is placed in service or used on the network. There is also a requirement for the ECM to establish a system of maintenance.

If an ECM is responsible for freight wagons, it must also obtain an ECM certificate.

Exclusions from the mainline railway requirements

ROGS give us discretion to exclude from the mainline railway requirements certain transport systems.