Workforce Safety

Safety of the workforce when working on or near the line is a key area of risk exposure for most rail operators. Often, protection of workforce involves procedural risk controls, some of which involve significant risk exposure when providing the protection itself.

There are a range of modern technologies that can be used to protect workers whilst minimising on-track exposure, ranging from automated warning systems and remote disconnections through to use of Geo Technologies. Sotera has carried out a range of hazard identification and risk assessment work to help develop and gain approval for appropriate solutions, and has developed cost-benefit assessment tools to help justify investment at a local level.

A particular focus of this work involves the use of new technologies to replace the use of detonators for protection of possessions and line blockages. Other work has led to the development of risk ranking systems for sections of track in terms of the risk for walking and track patrolling.

What We Do

Sotera offer a range of services drawing on over 30 years of industry experience and client support. If you need assistance and can’t find a relevant service here, contact us and we’ll see if we can help.

Peer Review

Risk assessments, safety arguments and safety cases comprise a systematic analysis of equipment, processes or applications that strive to demonstrate that a suitable level of safety performance can be achieved.

Due to its genuine independence, insight and experience in risk assessment, Sotera is retained by equipment manufacturers, industry bodies, operating companies and regulators to perform peer review on a wide range of topics.

We aim to provide constructive insightful advice that can make both a positive contribution to the robustness of the case being made as well as the system or process subject under review.

Human error analysis

The history of rail and industrial accidents is an illustration of the importance of people within engineering, chemical and transport systems.  Whilst engineers and scientists have developed an incredible understanding of the laws of physics, the properties of materials and thermodynamics, the behaviour of people is much less predictable and harder to quantify with a degree of accuracy. 

Human error analysis explores a range of methods to understand the errors that people can make in completing their roles in different environments, assess the likelihood of the errors and develop suitable strategies to reduce the likelihood of occurrence and improve the chances of recovery

Hazard identification

Hazard identification describes a range of structured processes for eliciting the potentially harmful failures that can occur with the operation of a system or process.

Sotera has undertaken hazard identification in a diverse range of disciplines, including:

  • Integrated transport plans
  • Chemical processes
  • Railway operations
  • Signalling equipment and systems
  • Control rooms
  • Rolling stock design
  • Ground engineering
  • Train driving.

We have found that careful planning and critical thinking is require to ensure the process identifies the pertinent hazard in and efficient and effective manner.

Common safety methods

In 2013, the EU introduced regulations on common safety method (CSM) for risk evaluation and assessment for railways.

The regulations introduced a new framework for the acceptance of significant technical, operational or organisational changes to the railway. The regulations replaced, inter alia, The Railways (Safety Case) Regulations 2000.

The new framework introduces new criteria for acceptance of change including application of codes of practice, similarity with reference systems and explicit risk estimation.

Sotera has expertise is application of the CSM process, and the previous regulatory regimes