Safety Bulletin: Compliance auditing of contractors and other duty-holders


5 July 2017

ONRSR has recently noticed a number of signalling-related wrong side failures on various networks due to deficient design installation, prompting a warning to contractors and other duty-holders about their obligations under Rail Safety National Law.

Contractors that perform rail safety work, and are not themselves accredited, are still bound to abide by Rail Safety National Law, with section 53 of the legislation detailing the Duties of designers, manufacturers and suppliers. ONRSR has and will carry out a range of compliance activities to monitor safety by contractors and may also include contractors in compliance audits of the safety systems and procedures of rail transport operators.

Where signalling is concerned, contractors are being reminded that design companies must follow a robust process and ensure that signalling designs are rigorously tested and commissioned before being made operational.

To ensure compliance with Rail Safety National Law, contractors and operators undertaking signalling related projects must: 

  • have a system in place which is suitable and sufficient to meet the requirement of complexity of a safety critical signalling project
  • apply robust engineering safety management to the novelty of the intended system and complexity of a project
  • apply robust configuration control through all stages of design development
  • ensure the lead signal design engineer has competencies according to the ARO/RTO requirement or suitable and sufficient experience to manage the complexity of the project
  • have competent designers to suit complexity of a project and carry out work to the capacity and capability of the company
  • keep appropriate records of designer self-checking copies, independent checking copies verification/3rd party review evidence as per ARO requirements or industry best practices
  • ensure safety Risks are reviewed and managed SFAIRP throughout project life cycle and evidence is captured in an engineering design report (design safety report)
  • ensure client review comments/feedback are actioned and evidence is available
  • ensure construction is based on approved “Issue for Construction” copies unless agreed with relevant stakeholders
  • provide evidence of a formal handover between the construction and testing teams
  • apply principles of engineering safety management/ industry best practices in commissioning such as independence of Tester In-Charge (TIC)
  • ensure that once testing activities have started, any alteration is carried out in controlled manner i.e. through Test Log and modification (MOD) process.

If you have any questions or would like to seek any clarification, please get in touch with your local ONRSR branch.