Railway undertakings and Infrastructure Managers need to ensure the control of the part of railway system that they are responsible for, mainly by setting arrangements in their organisations to:
- comply with safety requirements applicable to the railway system as a whole (TSIs, national requirements, etc.),
- identify specific risks related to their activity,
- identify, and managing some future and local risks .
The governance of such organisations should be made of consistent arrangements, adoption of ad hoc policies, structured implementation and operational processes and allocation of responsibilities for areas of activity.
Furthermore: organisations are dynamic and continuously evolving. There is a constant need to adjust and improve all SMS related processes. To be able to do so organisations needs that ensure design and control of the implementation and operational processes, through effective leadership [7.1] and the involvement of staff.
Risk assessment [7.2] can help to anticipate future developments and threats such as potential disruptions, pressures and their consequences.
Unforeseen events, not identified when designing the risk control measures, may take place. Risk control measures can, because of a changing environment (external like new technologies, rules, standards, etc., and/or internal like new or changing techniques, operational procedures, organisational structure, etc.), no longer fulfil the intended purpose. Additionally, changes in the general management arrangements and structure may impact on the safety management system.
Monitoring [7.3] of both the performance of operational processes and of the environment is necessary to identify latent system failures, which are those system elements that are or could become a threat in the near term. Monitoring supports the return of experience, which is an important complement for the continual reflection upon risks.
Furthermore, lessons should be learned [7.4] from operational incidents. This and the findings of audits, inspections and all other relevant sources of information can be used to improve the system.
All these processes together finally are needed to provide the management of a company with the necessary input to take informed decisions about structural or functional changes of the system so that it is better prepared for what may happen in the future.
Obviously, for a good performance of these processes for design and improvement as well, it is necessarily that the responsible staff/management knows what to do, how to do it and with timely knowledge of all relevant information to do so. This means that some processes for implementation also apply on all the processes for improvement, just like the principles of monitoring.
Processes for design and improvement:
- are intended to assure that desired objectives are met, to prevent problems from occurring or re-occurring and to adapt and improve in line with changing external and internal requirements,
- define how to accomplish tasks and how to evaluate and adapt them to the changing environment, allocating adequate resources.