Safety and Environmental Plan

Safety and Environmental Plan


The Safety and Environment (S&E) Plan sets out how Network Rail intends to continue its systematic improvement of control of key risks, reduction of business loss, compliance with new legislation/directives and work with industry partners to improve the safety, health and environment delivery performance of Britain’s railway.

The plan continues to run for the three years 2003-06, and Network Rail have produced an Update for 2004/05. This identifies actions that will be undertaken in 2004/05, as well as a summary of what was achieved in 2003/04. It supports the Network Rail Business Plan.


The Safety and Environment (S&E) Plan sets out how Network Rail intends continuing its systematic improvement of control of key risks, reduction of business loss, compliance with new legislation/directives and work with industry partners to improve the safety, health and environment delivery performance of Britain’s railway.  Delivery of this Plan will play a major part in realising the Network Rail corporate goal to improve safety.

This Plan also helps to underpin the commitments made in:

  • Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) 2003 Strategic Plan;
  • Railway Group Safety Plan;
  • Network Rail Railway Safety Case and Safety Case Development Plan;
  • Network Rail Business Plan, HSQE (Health, Safety, Quality and Environment) Plan and Risk Management Plan;
  • Network Rail Action Plans.

The Plan also delivers a number of inquiry report recommendations.

The challenge

As infrastructure controller, we are responsible for directly controlling or influencing a wide range of system safety and environmental risks.

These fall into three basic categories:

  1. Risks directly controlled by Network Rail (eg condition of permanent way);
  2. Risks jointly controlled between Network Rail and other duty holders (eg Signals Passed at Danger);
  3. Risks imported onto the railway that can be partly mitigated (eg trespassers).
    The diagram below has been created using the Railway Group Safety Risk Model (SRM) to identify the causes and consequences of potential accidents arising from railway assets and activities, and from external factors such as public behaviour. It shows our health and safety risks in terms of those that we control, those that we control jointly with train, station operators and railway crime partners, and those that are imported onto our infrastructure and for which we can partly mitigate. Our actions focus on the prioritised reduction of those risks we control.

The principal environmental impact risks are profiled below. The foundation of the environmental management system marks the first stage in the development of a ranking of environmental risks.

The top 10 risks (as reviewed at May 2002) are:

        1. Operational noise;
        2. Liquid fuel storage;
        3. Construction noise;
        4. Discarded materials;
        5. Contaminated land;
        6. Vegetation management;
        7. Surface water drainage;
        8. Graffiti;
        9. Oil-filled cables;
        10. Vibration.

Network Rail possesses a mature and robust Railway Safety Case, safety management system and environment management system. The challenge that faces the company is how to effectively improve the control of safety, health and environment risk against a backdrop of:

  • Ever-increasing National/European legislation;
  • Industry cost constraints;
  • Enforcement action by external authorities;
  • A fragmented supply chain;
  • Ill-defined rail system interface controls.

Network Rail also faces increased safety and business continuity risk posed by external factors, such as the threat of terrorism, and the need to demonstrate value for money by improving the quality and efficiency of our processes and people.

Recognising the challenge, Network Rail has, for the first time, developed a longer-term Safety and Environment Plan. This new Plan will be in force for three years from April 2003 and sets out how we will progressively improve our control of specific key risks, at the same time improving our leadership, culture and the competence of our people.

At the core of this Plan are the following deliverables:

  • A safety leadership and culture change programme will be implemented across the whole of Network Rail;
  • All safety, health, environment and business loss precursors will be identified using our risk management framework;
  • Throughout the life of this Plan, sustainable, long-term risk control strategies are to be developed with the support of industry partners for all our main risks;
  • These risk control strategies are then to be implemented and their effectiveness will be measured, reviewed and continuously improved;
  • An integrated, company-wide business continuity management plan will be developed and implemented. This will strengthen Network Rail’s capability to respond to serious incidents or terrorist acts, as well as supporting the wider rail industry;
  • Additional competencies and significant managerial improvements will be made to our safety critical competence management system;
  • The development of a modern, fit-for-purpose standards and business document framework will be implemented to help staff to understand critical controls, and which adequately addresses all business and railway system interface risks;
  • We will introduce proven quality management techniques to improve our business effectiveness and product;
  • We will commit to helping make successful the new Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB).

Benefits and deliverables of this Plan

We have an absolute duty to comply with legislation. There are organisation and arrangement costs associated with delivering compliance with legislation and standards. Likewise, there are costs associated with maintaining existing levels of health and safety performance. This Plan sets out our objectives and our actions to improve such arrangements.

While spend is prioritised on legislative compliance and managing our principal risks to continue delivering safety improvements, we recognise that wider business and loss control benefits will be delivered through this Plan.

For each main risk control objective, we have identified the potential business benefits (in addition to safety benefits) in terms of one or more of:

  • Reduced direct consequential costs of investigations;
  • Reduced risk of TSRs following implementation of signalling schemes;
  • Increased permitted train speeds;
  • Reduced train delays;
  • Enhanced patrolling, inspection and maintenance arrangements;
  • Reduced maintenance, repair and insurance costs;
  • Improved workforce health, safety and welfare.

All of the actions contribute to improved loss control, improved reliability and, thus, improved public perception of us as a business. In summary, a safe business is a good business.

Structure of the Plan

This Plan is based on the development and implementation of risk control strategies.  This Plan sets out the basic improvement strategies and objectives, but not detailed implementation actions or guidance. Network Rail staff can find more detailed information and guidance on how to deliver the Plan by visiting the Connect Intranet site.

Delivery and review overview

Physical and financial delivery of the Plan will be reviewed and modified on a regular basis using the established corporate structure.
We will need to respond to external events and adjust the Plan accordingly. This will be done by reviewing the Plan annually between September and December. It is not the intention of the annual review to develop a completely new Plan, but rather to adjust and update the core document in a controlled manner.

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