Tuesday 23 October 2018

UIC is participating in the International Railway Safety Council (IRSC) from 22 – 26 October 2018 in Dublin

Theme of the conference this year: “Organisational Culture that values safety”

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180 delegates from over 20 countries are participating in IRSC 2018 from 22 – 26 October in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

The IRSC logo (triangle) is symbolic of the three key elements of ‘Operator’, ‘Equipment’ and ‘Rules’ working together in the safety management system.

Investigations clearly show how human factors are often precursors to major disasters. It is recognised that to achieve improvements in safety performance a mature safety culture that successfully integrates human factors in railway safety management is required. However, safety culture is a facet of the broader organisational culture which expresses leadership styles and priorities. Best practice in safety management acknowledges that organisational effectiveness depends on the important relationship between ‘Organisational Culture’, ‘Leadership’ and ‘Systems’.

The theme for IRSC 2018 Organisational Culture that values Safety brings together the two triangles of ‘Operator-Equipment-Rules’ and ‘Organisational Culture-Leadership-Systems’.

Speakers at IRSC 2018 presented papers in 8 different sessions from 22 to 24 October on the important relationship between organisational culture and safety outcomes; both from the perspective of lessons learnt as a result of accidents, and initiatives taken to improve railway safety.

The three sub-themes were:

The important relationship between organisational culture and safety outcomes

Effects of corporate culture on safety and the role of leadership:

  • How Mission, Vision and Values shape a railway organisation’s high level strategies, goals and standards for safety
  • How direction and oversight provide an organisational climate that establishes a strong safety culture underpinning safe operation
  • How directors and senior managers demonstrate commitment to safety through their activities and in their relationships with staff
  • How safety is considered when identifying and managing the railway organisation’s business risks, and how is conflict between safety and other goals recognised and resolved

Lessons learnt as a result of accidents arising from organisational failure

Failings in risk control system during routine activities:

  • Operation, maintenance, inspection and testing
  • Safety critical communications
  • Clarity of roles, responsibilities and goals
  • Work activities – shift patterns and fatigue
  • Further failing after risk control system failure has occurred
  • Level of collaborative maturity
  • Factors influencing decision taking

Organisational initiatives and innovations to improve railway safety

People – Individual & Team:

  • Improving corporate safety governance
  • Organisational change — challenges to safety system defences
  • Methods for the control and influence of behaviour
  • Effect of employee recognition on safety
  • Improving behavioural safety


  • KPI’s in the measurement of safety
  • Risk perception vs safety culture
  • Methods of injury prevention
  • Root cause analysis in identification of accident causal factors

    Safety Promotion:
  • Promotion of an organisational culture that enables and sustains a mature safety culture
  • Organisational culture as a support to system defences
  • Initiatives for promotion of close call reporting

Opening of the conference
Minister’s address

Mr Shane Ross Ministry for Transport, Tourism and Sport of Ireland
opened the IRSC 2018 Conference in Dublin.

He said: “The raison d’être of the International Railway Safety Council is to share experiences in order to lead to enhanced understanding of safety and safety management. As we stand here at the opening of the IRSC 2018, we bear in mind the lessons we have learned from the past. And we use these memories to help ensure continued vigilance now and in the future.

The purpose of the International Railway Safety Council, founded in 1990, is to improve railway safety by providing delegates with a forum to facilitate the exchange of information on new developments, experiences and safety lessons. The IRSC makes a significant contribution to the ongoing improvement of rail safety management and performance around the world. Equally as important is the fact that the IRSC provides a regular opportunity for those with key responsibilities in the rail sector to develop strong personal working relationships with each other. These personal networks further enhance continual safety improvement through an ongoing exchange of safety information and advice.

The value of the IRSC as a forum for learning and sharing experience has long been recognised by those involved in the railway sector here in Ireland, with representatives from key Irish railway bodies participating and contributing regularly at annual conferences over the year. “

Welcome and introduction of participants:
Brian Higgisson, Commissionner, Commission for Railway Regulation, Ireland thanked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Irish Rail, sponsors (including UIC). He also welcomed all participants and invited participants to go and visit the exhibition where UIC also had a corner.

UIC had the opportunity to present two topics:

First one with Bernard Penners in session 2

  • Dr Gregory Rolina European Union Agency for Railways: “Evaluate to Learn and Improve: A Safety Culture Model for European Railways”
  • Mr Jesse Baker, Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB), Australia: “RISSB helping to foster positive organisational culture
  • Bernard Penners, Head of UIC Safety Unit at UIC and Christian Neveu, SNCF, Chairman of the UIC Human Factors WG: “Towards a positive railway safety culture”

Second one with Isabelle Fonverne in session 6

  • Philippa Murphy, Charlotte Kaul: “Improving operational decision making for front line rail staff”
  • Isabelle Fonverne: “Level crossing safety worldwide” and including information about the SAFER-LC EU project
  • Eunkyung Chae, Chan-woo Park, Duck-ho Shin, Sanglog Kwak: “Planning for smart railway safety management”
  • Cathal Mangan, Irish Rail, Iarnrod Eireann’s Management of earth structures

The conference will be followed by technical visits on 25 and 26 October 2018.

For more information: http://irsc2018.com
For the programme: http://irsc2018.com/uploads/files/Updated%20IRSC%20Scientific%20Programme.pdf

For further questions please contact Isabelle Fonverne, Senior Safety Advisor:


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IRSC Organising Committee
Mr Shane Ross, Ministry for Transport, Tourism and Sport of Ireland
Brian Higgisson, Commissionner for Railway Regulation Ireland
Bernard Penners, Head of the UIC Safety Unit and Christian Neveu, SNCF, Chairman of the UIC Human Factors Working Group
Isabelle Fonverne, UIC Senior Safety Advisor