Network Rail head attacks industry’s safety record

Mark Carne, the head of Network Rail has said that unsafe working practices are causing “appalling tragedies” and hundreds of casualties each year. Carne noted in a speech to rail industry figures that each year, about 600 railway workers are injured to the extent that they cannot return to work the next day.

Carne compared the appalling figure to safety records in the sector he joined rail from – the oil and gas industry, where there are approximately 30 – 60 people injured to the same extent each year. Network Rail figures reveal that three workers were killed and 122 suffered major injuries in 2013-14 working on the railway infrastructure.

Last year, London Metropolitan University carried out research into the impact of efficiency savings on Network Rail staff, on behalf of the Action for Rail campaign. The report was based on focus groups with rail workers and found that government cuts to Network Rail’s funding were putting the lives of both rail passengers and maintenance workers at risk.

The unusually frank statement by Carne of the safety figures reported by Network Rail are a corroboration of the findings of our report. The government should pay heed to the recommendations.

To read the article in The Guardian, Topham, G. 2015 “Network Rail boss attacks industry’s safety record and ‘macho’ culture”, 26 February, please click here.

To read the Action for Rail report The Impact of Efficiency Savings on Network Rail Staff, please click here.