State of Safety 2017 - Railways
Safety Manager’s Discussion
In 2017, regulatory review was a key area of focus. We analyzed the railway regulatory framework and will be discussing recommendations for regulatory change with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. We also made changes to some of our internal processes around railway incident inspections to improve data collection.
Continuing our education efforts, we developed a Railway Safety Handbook to support managers and employees of BC railways. This handbook provides general railway operational information, best practices, and details the consequences of unsafe acts and conditions that can impact the safety of railway employees, the public, and the environment.
In 2018, we are shifting towards a risk-based audit platform that may change the scope and frequency of our oversight. Ensuring appropriate training standards for employees, track infrastructure, and maintenance are top priorities for the coming year. We will also be monitoring the growth of public transit systems in the province to ensure continued regulatory oversight of existing and new light rail transit. We will also begin providing clients with year-end report cards so they have a more complete and in-depth view of their safety performance.
Railways Safety Manager (Acting)
Railway accidents and incidents are reported in accordance with adopted federal regulations. The table below summarizes the accidents and incidents reported to Technical Safety BC involving railway equipment. Typically, these accidents and incidents are low speed and low risk. Many of the accidents can be attributed to human error and violations to rules and procedures. The Railway Safety Program focuses its assessments and audits on employee training and the requirements for railway operators to perform proficiency testing of their railway employees.
Provincial railways are required to report injuries that are a result of railway operations to Technical Safety BC. This includes injuries to workers performing train operations or injuries to the public on railway property as a result of train operations. There were four fatalities due to suicide. As well, a runaway rail car caused three fatalities and two injuries classified as Major.
Note: Technical Safety BC receives injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following, the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to Technical Safety BC and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.
Assessments and Audits of Regulated Work
Railway safety officers assess and audit all operating railways as part of regular oversight. Assessments may result with non-compliances where the railway is found to not comply with the applicable acts, regulations, rules and guidelines. Railway operations are also audited against their safety management systems, which are required for all railways. The Railway Safety Program issues recommendations as a result of these audits.
The Stakeholder Engagement team works to enhance connections between stakeholders and Technical Safety BC via standing committees, advisory bodies and issue-specific consultations. Learn more in the Stakeholder Engagement section.
We developed a Railway Safety Handbook to support managers and employees of BC railways. This handbook provides general railway operational information, best practices, and details the consequences of unsafe acts and conditions that can impact the safety of railway employees, the public, and the environment.
Media Relations and Communications
In 2017 Technical Safety BC undertook 13 media relations-related actions (media releases, responses to media requests, and/or interviews) and produced one technical client newsletter regarding railway safety. We also shared general railway safety information via social media (Facebook and Twitter). Learn more in the Media Relations and Communications section.
Compliance and Enforcement Actions
There were no Compliance & Enforcement Actions undertaken in 2017 for Railways. Learn more in the Compliance and Enforcement section.
Regulatory Instruments and Amendments
In 2017 we issued two Railway safety advisories. A full listing of all regulatory instruments pertaining to the Railway technology is available here. Learn more in the Regulatory Instruments and Amendments section.