Network Rail’s accident-reporting system under scrutiny
Network Rail has invited the Railway Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) to undertake an independent review of its reporting system for RIDDOR incidents.
It follows concerns raised earlier this year from the Office of Rail Regulation that the company was under-reporting minor accidents among workers.
Unite’s national officer for railways, Bob Rixham, has also been unrelenting in his criticism of the company’s reporting culture, not least because Network Rail paid out millions of pounds in bonuses to directors based in part on the rail operator’s health and safety record.
New data shown by Rixham to Network Rail’s chair, Rick Haythornthwaite, indicated that around 700 RIDDOR incidents fail to get reported by contractors every year, on top of the under-reporting by Network Rail managers.
Following talks with Unite, Haythornthwaite has now agreed to an independent review of how it reports staff accidents. Unite’s health and safety officer will join the RSSB team as part of the safety-culture review.
Congratulating Haythornthwaite on his commitment, Rixham said: “This is a positive step forward. The operator’s credibility has been severely undermined by the under-reporting of accidents. Behind the statistics are real people who have been injured at work. Network Rail now has the opportunity to instigate change to a safer railway for rail workers and, in doing so, restore its credibility.”
However, the union is still outraged that the company is apparently refusing to look into the bonuses paid to directors. Said Rixham: “Network Rail’s chairman must ensure that part of the bonuses paid to directors are recouped and donated to the transport benevolent fund.”
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