Consultation on the goal-setting principles for railway safety

Consultation status
Conclusions published
Date of publication
Closing date

With this consultation we sought views on a draft document ‘Goal-setting principles for railway safety’ which sets out our high-level expectations for new or altered works, railway vehicles, plant and equipment.

Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) was historically responsible for giving statutory “approval” to new or altered works, plant and equipment. To enable the industry to be clear about the expectations of the inspectors and engineers responsible for considering applications for approval, HMRI published guidance on the most important safety principles and how they might be achieved. HMRI last fully updated its “railway safety principles and guidance” in 2005 (available from the National Archives), shortly before its functions transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation (from October 2015 called the Office of Rail and Road).

Since 2005  there have been a number of changes to the safety and technical legislation relevant to the railway which have been primarily driven by the development of European railway legislation. These changes form part of a general move from ‘rules’ based safety management to a ‘goal-setting’ approach. The most significant recent legislation is the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011 (RIR) and the associated European Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs).

Under the RIR, ORR has a role in technical authorisations and although this role only extends to the mainline, we believe many of these expectations are equally applicable to all the railways and guided transport systems for which we are the health and safety regulator (with the exception of tramways who are now responsible for producing principles specific to their sector).

The changes to the safety and technical legislation giving ORR a role in technical authorisations have led to our decision to update and re-publish our high-level expectations


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Consultation outcome

Principles for health and safety on the railway
Published January 2017

Consultation document

Goal-setting principles for railway safety
June 2016