UK - HSE report suggests that vandalism poses an increasing risk to rail safety
A new report from Britain's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) points to vandalism as being the major risk to safety on Britain's railways.
The report also highlights a near-doubling of deaths caused by railway accidents. In the year 1996/7 there were 25 deaths which was an all-time low. In the 1997/8 year, this increased to 46 and is the highest since 1991/2 when 68 people were killed.
The number of accidents caused through vandalism has grown since that year from 289 to 1,137. During the year, there were 619 incidents of damage to driver's cab windscreens. Of these, 514 were caused by missiles thrown at the trains.
The chairman of the HSE, Fank Davies said "I am horrified to see that the proportion of train accidents caused by vandalism has increased to 61%". This figure represents a increase over 1996/7 figures which showed that around half of the accidents were caused through attacks by vandals.
In an earlier report, Railtrack itself was slated by the HSE for its poor maintenance of Britain's rail infrastructure.
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UK Railway Safety Standards Review
Includes information about a Railtrack survey on vandalism
Health and Safety Executive
A UK Government web site