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Project title

A review of principles of decision-making in the rail industry (T224)

  • Project number:

  • Topic:

    Safety Policy and Risk Management
  • Status:


Project Summary

Investigating key issues in safety decision-making covering the Precautionary Principle, the removal of risk controls, Good Practice, and Conflicting Legislation.

Project Abstract

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This project examined several contentious aspects of safety decision-making. It reviewed the meaning of the term 'Precautionary Principle' and found that it should be used as a way to move issues forward, rather than to do nothing, in the face of imperfect knowledge of risks. It produced guidance on the legal and operational basis for decisions to reduce risk controls. It concluded that the adoption of accepted good practice was often strong evidence of, but not conclusive proof of, risk being ALARP. Finally, it found that there were few examples of legislation imposing conflicting requirements on the industry - most of those cited being based on misunderstandings - although there are often tensions between different laws which require management effort to resolve. These conclusions will be used to provide practical guidance to the rail industry on these aspects of safety decision-making.

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