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HFWG - Human Factors Working Group

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Focus on Human Factors

Chairman : Christian Neveu, SNCF



UIC spearheads a study on safety culture in the railway sector

On 19 January, UIC launched a study on safety culture in the railway sector. A number of railway companies and infrastructure managers were brought together during the kick-off meeting organised by the Human Factors working group, which is run under the UIC Safety Platform. The work will focus on current best practice in the area of safety culture, and aims to:

  • Identify and characterise the safety culture as practised within railway companies
  • Establish the best methods
  • Identify the tools enabling a safety culture to be effectively implemented in the railway sector as a whole
  • Learn from other areas of industry (nuclear, oil, chemical, air and maritime)

The eventual aim is for UIC and its members to propose a common project, enabling railway companies and infrastructure managers to empower not only those involved in the safety sector, but all staff in general to develop a common culture.


The HFWG HFWG Human Factors Working Group strives to ensure better incorporation of Organisational and Human Factors into the safety systems of the railways undertakings espacially for SPF’s member railways.

Generally the group addresses questions such as:

  • How to incorporate insight from human and social sciences in the same way as are engineering sciences?
  • How to optimise the system in order to improve safety?
  • How to manage developments impacting an individual’s work?

The HFWG aims to raise awareness about these issues by producing

  • Recommandations on key issues or issues generating debate.
  • Compendia of ideas and practices emanating from member railways or other companies.

The objective is not to publish an exhaustive set of documents for each topic examined.

The group is comprised of railway experts from: UK (RSSB RSSB Railway Safety Standards and Boards ), Spain (RENFE), Belgium (Infrabel), UK (Network Rail), France (SNCF), Switzerland (SBB-CFF), Germany (DBAG) and UIC.


Study on local management safety checks Study on the contribution of psychology to railway operation safety Management of distressing events and prevention of post-traumatic stress Organisational and human aspects of safety at border crossings Analysis of the human, organisational and social dimensions of an incident
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  • Study about "Human and Organisational aspects of events analysis"
  • SMS SMS Safety Management System Guidelines and Human Factors
  • Seminar on "Safety in the Railway system-The Human Factors" (18-19 May 2011)
  • Seminar on "Human Factors & Technological Innovations" (24 June 2009)
  • Workshop on "Fatigue : impact on alertness in railway operations" (9 December 2008)
  • List of points of concern regarding the implementation of the “Driver Licensing” Directive.
  • Closure and concluding seminar for the ‘Language’ study, publication of the “Handbook”.
  • Seminar on the “Driver environment”
  • Specifications for three projects:
    • non-intrusive driver vigilance monitoring devices,
    • human, organisational and social aspects of the impact of border crossing on safety,
    • preparation of a proposal for the 3rd European Call for projects on driver management of information and tool and document design.
  • Opinions on other projects carried out by other UIC bodies.


Subject areas being covered with other working groups or independently:

  • A new study has started on 19th January 2012 about "Safety culture in the railways"
  • A new study has started on 12th October 2011 about "Training and drilling of staff for highly disrupted situations (excluding accidents)"
  • Development of risk acceptance criteria suited for sub-systems with heavy human involvement (with SSMG SSMG System Safety Management ),
  • Recommendations for reducing the risk of passing signals at danger,
  • Dissemination (workshop-seminars) of findings from previous studies (“Languages” and “HF and Interoperability”),
  • Recommendations for safety management at cross-border sections (HF aspects),
  • Recommendations for the compilation and use of safety databases based on their contribution to safety management (HF aspects)
  • Development of “human and social science” skills which are likely to be used for UIC projects,
  • Organisation of a seminar on “driver vigilance and fatigue – knowing and understanding what they are, protection against their consequences”.

Topics that must be covered given current ERA ERA European Railway Agency work:

  • accreditation of training centres,
  • management of driver mobility from one company to another,
  • language skills (continued),
  • professional skills assessment.

 2009 Programme

Reminder of the three ongoing studies:

  • Contribution of psychology to railway safety
  • Local management checks
  • Implementation of the “Driver Licensing” Directive

which will draw to a close early 2009.

To be commenced in 2009 subject to approval by the Safety Platform (cf July 2009 meeting)

  • Automatic non-intrusive driver vigilance and alertness monitoring devices
  • Preparation of an application for the 3rd European Call for projects information management by the driver (IMD)
  • Management of the impact on safety by drivers crossing “borders”

The HFWG will continue contributing to the various groups in which UIC is involved, at the request of project leaders and subject to the availability of individual Group members.

 Reserve projects

The “Human Factors” working group has a further eight topics in reserve, priority amongst which will be determined by the steering group according to its proposals (cf UIC Safety Platform, Work Programme 2009).


The aim of the work is to better guarantee the efficiency and safety of international rail transport.

UIC may also call upon the services of researchers to carry out more specialised research. In this case it is the Human Factors Group which drafts the specifications and steers the work.

Building a safe, interoperable railway - A Methodological Guide to integrating Human Factors

 HFWG Meetings

UIC Safety meetings

 UIC Contact

Senior Advisor Organisational and Human Factors

Attached documents

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