The “International Railway Safety Council” (IRSC) provides a platform for rail safety professionals to come together to share their knowledge and experiences in a global forum. In 2014 this conference was co-chaired by Dirk Thater of the German Railway (DB AG) and Ralf Schweinsberg of the German National Safety Authority Eisenbahnbundesamt (EBA).
Key note speakers in the opening ceremony were Enak Ferlemann, State Secretary at the German Transport Ministry, Dr. Rüdiger Grube, CEO of DB AG,
Mrs H. Hanagarth, member of the DB Board for Technics and Environment.
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, General Director of UIC, was invited to this international event and highlighted UIC in the opening part of this conference as a worldwide association of cooperation for railway companies and, in particular, mentioned the activities in the field of railway safety which could be explored by IRSC participants by direct or indirect relations with the UIC working bodies.
To conclude his opening speech, after highlighting the activities of UIC, and more specifically those on safety matters, he shared a vision of optimism with the audience.
He said: “I will quote Isaac Newton who once said: Man is building too many walls and not enough bridges!”
What happened here in Berlin and in Germany 25 years ago is evidence that unification is better than division. This is what we are all modestly trying to do within our associations, insofar as we are building bridges between all our members from 95 countries in the world to have a united vision of progress. This is what we are doing today within the International Railway Safety Council (IRSC). Heute sind wir alle Berliner!”
Around 200 participants from 32 countries attended this world-wide railway safety event. There were representatives from railway undertakings, infrastructure managers, safety regulators, railway accident investigation agencies, railway trade unions, equipment manufacturers.
UIC was present with an exhibition stand; Jerzy Wisniewski, Director of the UIC Fundamental Values Department acted as a session leader; Peter Gerhardt, Manager of the UIC Safety Unit chaired the “Associations” meeting.
The banner theme for the IRSC 2014 was “Railway safety in times of fundamental changes”. Presentations and discussions were submitted under the following core themes:
- The (European) idea of standardised Safety Management System
- Regulation Challenges
- Implementation Challenges
- Risk Assessments Methods
- Human Factors
- Knowledge transfer and motivation
- IT-supported Safety Management
- Safety engineering maintains railway safety
The conference was also the opportunity to disseminate the results of the EU RESTRAIL project (“Reduction of suicides and trespasses on railway property”) which ended on 30 September 2014 and was coordinated by the UIC Security Division. A presentation was given at the IRSC Operators meeting by Maria Hedqvist and Helena Rådbo from Trafikverket (Sweden) on the results of RESTRAIL and especially the toolbox which is the main output of the project available at www.restrail.eu/toolbox.
For further information please visit: www.irsc2014.org
The 25th IRSC will take place in autumn 2015 in Johannesburg/South Africa and is to be hosted by the South African Railway Safety Regulator (RSR).