Proceedings of the

The 33rd European Safety and Reliability Conference (ESREL 2023)
3 – 8 September 2023, Southampton, UK

A Review of an NSA's Supervision Activities & Audit Outcomes to Enhance Its Monitoring of Railway Organisation Safety Management Systems

Shane O'Duffy1, Hongsin Kim2 and Richard Popplestone3

1Commission for Railway Regulation, Dublin, Ireland.

2University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom /EADDRESS/
3Risktec Solutions Ltd. TÜV Rheinland, Warrington, United Kingdom /EADDRESS/


The National Safety Authority (NSA) plays an important role in safety oversight of railway organisations (RO's) operating within their European Union (EU) Member State. The NSA is tasked with assessing and supervising RO Safety Management System's (SMS's), ensuring compliance with standards and legislative requirements. Depending on the size of the NSA, it can be a challenge to implement all the legislative requirements due to constraints in resources and competence. This review concentrated on data analysis of NSA supervision activities and audit outcomes to enhance the NSA in monitoring RO SMS's.

The purpose of this study is to provide evidence to support the NSA supervision planning process changing from a compliance-based approach to being a risk-based approach. This research examined broadly accepted approaches to measure/indicate if an SMS is effective and reviewed current practices and studies linking SMS with safety culture. Key recommendations for the NSA would be, to implement the European Railway Agency (ERA) Management Maturity Model (MMM) tool and the safety perception survey approach for evaluating SMS effectiveness and safety culture. The analysis of NSA data and literature reviewed, found a correlation that competence management and risk management were the two most problematic areas of the SMS. The implications of these findings for the NSA are further discussed.

Keywords: Safety management system, SMS effectiveness, Maturity model, Safety culture.

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