Rail sell-off 'could increase accidents'
Sir John Cullen, chairman of the Health and Safety Commission, told potential rail contractors that there were clear safety implications arising from the Government's proposals, which will allow outside franchisees to run trains and contractors increasingly to maintain track.
'It is possible that new companies with little or no previous experience of operating railways may enter the industry. They may have staff with limited experience of railway safety,' he told a seminar in London.
'If we fail to achieve adequate safety control systems, the result would be increased risk and the likelihood of an increase in the number of accidents and possibly also their severity.' He said regulatory and management structures should be robust enough to control risks and to secure the confidence of the industry and general public. 'Safety standards must be maintained,' he said.
The Department of Transport has accepted a HSC report on the potential hazards published earlier this year, but the commission is now consulting over draft detailed regulations.
It was necessary for any outside operator to show that it could identify risks, establish chains of responsibility, ensure that standards did not deteriorate and that there was compatibility and co-operation between companies. It was also vital to ensure that staff were competent and fit.
Another requirement was that for the first time there should be statutory controls on the carriage of dangerous goods by rail, including radioactive materials and explosives.
A Department of Transport spokeswoman said the Government had accepted all of the commission's recommendations so far. 'Ministers set great store by safety,' she said.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...