HSE : Thursday February 24, 2000
Health and Safety Commission announce tough action after Southall report
The Health and Safety Commission (HSC) has announced today that it fully accepts the findings of Professor Uff's report and will be taking
immediate steps to carry forward his recommendations.
HSC Chair, Bill Callaghan, said
"The victims of Southall have waited too long for this report. Urgent action is now needed. Professor Uff has produced an independent, thorough and detailed report. The underlying issues are:- that
the system broke down as a result of the fragmentation of the industry; there is a need for a new positive safety culture and a need to look at human behaviour as much as equipment in effective
"Today I have written to all those identified by Professor Uff as needing to take action on his recommendations and also to those who need to
consider how the recommendations might impact on their operations. My message is addressed to all Train Operating Companies and not just Great Western Trains. I have asked for a response within three
weeks on how they intend to implement the recommendations. I know it is tough and there will be those in the industry who say it can not be done. Let them be in no doubt that those who use and work
on the railway will not tolerate any delay.
"I have also invited industry and trade unions representatives and other interested parties to meet me on 17 April 2000 to discuss their
responses so that we can prepare an agreed action plan which I intend to make public. The Commission will then monitor progress in complying with the recommendations against this plan and I will
report to Ministers who have a keen interest in ensuring rail safety.
"The action I am taking today is part of a wider action programme to improve safety on the railways. At the Commission's request, Ministers
made regulations to ensure the introduction of train protection systems on all railways by the end of 2003 and the phasing out of Mark 1 Rolling Stock - rolling stock with much the worst record for
injuries in a crash situation.
"The Health and Safety Commission is determined to ensure a safer railway. In the normal way the Commission will be working with Trade Unions
and employers in the rail industry, but I will not hesitate to recommend further regulations to ministers if that is necessary. It is clear that there will need to be a new regulatory regime and the
Commission will be consulting on this."
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- Health & Safety Executive