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Importance of Risk Management in Railway Industry

Question:

Discuss about the Risk Management in Railways.

Risk management approach is needed in organization for integrated safety management across the work system. In the context of railway industry, risk management system is necessary to assess the safety in the railway operations and plan ways to manage risk and enhance safety. It is also necessary to safeguard employees and passengers and reduce the maintenance cost of the system. This is dependent not just on safety in terms of railway infrastructure, it also covers all elements of safety which includes health and safety, environmental management, track inspection, procurement and quality of the track (An et al. 2011). This report is mainly concerned with developing the risk management system for a new company setting up railway operations in Australia. The company will mainly handle second hand locomotives, passenger carriages and patient handling facilities. Therefore, this reports describes the key features of risk management system for the new railway company and it also incorporate element of rail safety, OHS regulation and code of practice to inform each stage of risk management process.

Business risk issues and hazard identification process

For a new Australian company starting operations in interstate railway passenger operations, the most important priority will be managing railway safety in accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Regulation of particular state or territory. The compliance to the OHS regulation would depend on identifying business risk issues such as identifying hazards present in the railway operations and analyzing them for severity (Ericson 2015). As the new company will handle both passenger and locomotive carriages, the main goal will to control any fatal incidents and protect passengers from any risk. Hazard identification process is present in any organization to identify all foreseeable hazards and then analyzing the risk systematically (Bahn 2013). Therefore, appropriate hazard analysis process will be setup to identify and prioritize high and low risk issues.


Systematic and structure hazards identification process will be considering all the factors present in the railway system. This will include mode of operation, boundary of the system, circumstances of system, human factors and maintenance cycle. The Preliminary analysis will give an indication of hazards present in the whole railway system operations and then the hazards will be categorized on the basis of severity of damage (Beus et al. 2016). The severity will be judged by critically analysing the impact of risk on infrastructure damage and human injury. The importance of hazard categorization process is that it will facilitate safety management planning and determining follow-up actions to mitigate the hazards present in the system (Collis et al. 2014).

Hazard Identification and Analysis Process in Railway System

 Secondly, as tracks plays a major role in safety of the railway system, hazard identification in this area can be done by the variable of horizontal rougness, roughness on the running surface and the condition of ballast. Some of the diagnostic test that can be useful for tracking safety of railway track may include visual inspection of the railway track, technical inspection, measurements of tracks and shifts of rails and inspection or turnouts (Bertrand et al., 2017, June).

Risk analysis

This step is the most crucial part of the risk management system. Risk analysis will help to quantify risk assessment in the railway system design and operations. The Railway Safety and Compliance manager and the Rail Safety workers will have the responsibility to maintain the risk register and conduct risk assessment for the railway operations and plan relevant controls to reduce the hazards (Profillidis 2014). The maintenance of the risk register can give all the ideas about the hazards present, changes that have occurred after identifying risk and level of residual risk still present. The risk assessment and evaluation can also be done by the application of OHS code of practice and risk estimation principles. Reviewing OHS code of practice can guide managers to understand the standards of health and safety needed in the railway system. The hazard analysis process will also be done by means of gathering information related to passengers/ workers (Reese 2015).

A professional risk analyst will be recruited to ensure professional risk analysis takes place to minimize all possibility of hazards or accidents. They can develop event trees and fault trees to easily represent risk patterns. There are also many risk assessment model and identifying the most relevant one for the organization would to quantify failure probability and provide qualitative indicators of severity such as minor, sever, major or fatal hazards (Dindar et al.  2016).

Risk evaluation

The main purpose of risk evaluation in the risk management system is to determine the likelihood and potential consequences of risk. For the new railway company in Australia, the main purpose of risk evaluation will be to determine whether the risk acceptable or it requires serious action. Based on determining the acceptability, frequency and severity of risk, the risk manager of the company will take decisions regarding the tolerability of the risk (Robertson 2016). The severity of the risk will be categorized into minor, major, critical and catastrophic, whereas the frequency of risk can be categorized into very unlikely, remote, occasional, probable and frequent. If the risk is at intolerable level, then appropriate measures need to be taken regarding converting the risk into tolerable level. Secondly, to plan and reduce risk, cost considerations will also be important. If cost associated with a change outweighs the benefit, then such change will not be implemented (Caetano and Teixeira, 2015). However, mainly priority will be given to catastrophic risk irrespective of the cost because such risk would cost lives of passengers and workers too. Hence, this type of risk evaluation process will make the process of implementing risk management and control easier for the risk manager. The main purpose of risk management will be to maximize benefits for the new railway company and ensure complete compliance with railway regulations.

Risk Analysis and Evaluation Process for Railway Operations

Risk management strategies for setting up Interstate rail passenger operation in Australia

An effective risk management strategy is the key elements of good corporate governance and enables a company to achieve its operational and strategic objectives. The company should be committed in developing integrated and robust risk management processes across the company to guarantee decision making that is informed and suitable considerations of both opportunities and risks, so that the risk of injury to a person can be minimized.


In order to accomplish that, the following strategies can be taken up –

Maintenance of a current contemporary risk management frame work which will facilitate the management of the risks and provides guarantee that the risks are being properly managed.

There are several tools that can be used to measure the risks associated with rail.

They are – The bow tie risk assessment. It involves the analysis, communication and consultation of the risk management process. It helps in providing safety assurance to the passengers, work force and the members of the public that can get affected (baysari et al. 2008).

Horizon scanning- it is a process of identifying the risks that may imply on an organization.  It involves the identification of the risks associated with the negative impacts as well as the beneficial opportunities (Reese 2015).

Complexity and system integration- In order to carry out a railway project in a large scale it is necessary that selected engineers are appointed to carry out the projects. Engineers from different countries can be hired who have already high speed railways.

Financial risk analysis is also another factor, which has to be kept in mind. Sound funding has to be present to provide the best quality of work. Accuracy of the cost estimates should be made in order to meet up to the total cost.

In order to set up a large scale of railway interstate passenger operations it is necessary to maintain central and local government cooperation. It is required to consult with the government bodies regarding the cost management, the accessibility to the tacks, infrastructures and funding (Ericson 2015). The government body should be consulted with regarding the patient safety.

Several policies to ensure work place safety and to provide safety to the passengers. The regulations and the policies that have to be implemented are The HSE policy, drug and the alcohol policy (Ericson 2015).

The section for the health safety and the environmental control of the company should oversee the implementation of the regulations and the policies regarding he usage of the tools and the equipments to ensure passenger safety (Profillidis 2014).

Strategies for Enhancing Safety and Reducing Risks in Railway Operations


Drug and alcohol policy created by the companies. Drug and alcohol consumption created at the work place can bring about hazardous incidents, when it comes to the safety of so many people. Smoking should be prohibited in the premises as it is related to interstate rail passenger operations. The regulation policies should be well outlined (Glendon et al. 2016)

Setting up of emergency response procedures for hazards like fire, equipment failure and accidents. There should be specific emergency enquiry centers to cater to at the time of the hazards. Identification if the probable risks and prompt action is the main key to this point. Provision of first Aid, firefighter’s team should also be present and should be available as and when required. The workplace should be equipped with the emergency tools like the fire extinguishers and the first Aid kits. In order to manage the risks the company should follow certain steps that are identification of the probable risks, establishment of the enquiry centers, which can have access to the emergency services like the hospitals and the fire fighters (Beus, McCord and Zohar 2016). The workers appointed should be skilled properly in order to resolve the technical issues fast and thus prevent any hazards.

When it comes to the setting up of an interstate railway system, which deals with heavy engineering equipments and tools, the magnitude of the damage is expected to be large. In order to prevent that it is important that the workplace will be equipped with tools and machine that function efficiently and care should be maintained carefully (Sapienza and Grimm 2012). Provision of the safety equipments like the fire extinguishers, hose pipes, fireman’s blankets, fire tenders, dry risers, hose reels, fire hose cabinets and others. Active clothing equipments should be provided to the workers. The personal protective clothing will include earmuffs, goggles, dust masks, luminous vests and others (Stouffer et al., 2011).

Drills should be organized in order to train the workers, so that prompt action can be taken during any hazard and to ensure passenger safety. Proper evacuation drills has to be organized in order to train the new employees (Collis et al. 2014). Trainings should be given to the newly employed workers to deliver first aid to the patients and the peers at the time of nay mishap.

It should be ensured that the organization employees have clearly defined roles and responsibilities in order to avoid any miscommunication and confusion. It should be clearly noted that the risk management skills are the integral part of the decision making and business planning of a new company.

The company should abide by the strategies taken up by the SHREQ (safety, health, risk, environment and quality), which applies the risk management strategies in order for the identification of the safety risks linked to business operations and functions (Sapienza and Grimm 2012).

On the basis of the Board’s approved risk appetite, risk tolerance levels should be applied that would ensure the management and reporting of risks.

There should be a continuous assessment of the risk management framework and the processes related and manage via on-going monitoring, communication and consultation, periodic review.

Conclusion

The report summarized the feature of risk management system for a new railway company setting up its operation in Australia. This was framed keeping in mind the requirement of health and safety according to the OHS Act and the risk management framework. The systematic stages of risk identification, risk analysis, risk evaluation and risk management process has been extensively explained to assess how the company is prepared to manage risk and promote safety or workers as well as passengers. Passengers should also be made aware of the safety precautions through signs and posters, and the posters should indicate what is expected of them in thecase of any emergency, and a good example is the fire exits and assembly points.

References

An, M., Chen, Y. and Baker, C.J., 2011. A fuzzy reasoning and fuzzy-analytical hierarchy process based approach to the process of railway risk information: A railway risk management system. Information Sciences, 181(18), pp.3946-3966.

Bahn, S., 2013. Workplace hazard identification and management: The case of an underground mining operation. Safety science, 57, pp.129-137.

Baysari, M.T., McIntosh, A.S. and Wilson, J.R., (2008).Understanding the human factors contribution to railway accidents and incidents in Australia.Accident Analysis & Prevention, 40(5), pp.1750-1757.

Bertrand, S., Raballand, N., Viguier, F. and Muller, F., 2017, June. Ground risk assessment for long-range inspection missions of railways by UAVs. In Unmanned Aircraft Systems (ICUAS), 2017 International Conference on (pp. 1343-1351). IEEE.

Beus, J.M., McCord, M.A. and Zohar, D., 2016. Workplace safety: A review and research synthesis. Organizational psychology review, 6(4), pp.352-381.

Caetano, L.F. and Teixeira, P.F., 2015. Optimisation model to schedule railway track renewal operations: a life-cycle cost approach. Structure and Infrastructure Engineering, 11(11), pp.1524-1536.

Collis, L., Schmid, F. and Tobias, A., 2014. Managing incidents in a complex system: a railway case study. Cognition, technology & work, 16(2), pp.171-185.

Dindar, S., Kaewunruen, S. and An, M., 2016. Identification of appropriate risk analysis techniques for railway turnout systems. Journal of Risk Research, pp.1-22.

Ericson, C.A., 2015. Hazard analysis techniques for system safety. John Wiley & Sons.

Glendon, A.I., Clarke, S. and McKenna, E., 2016. Human safety and risk management. Crc Press.

Owens, H., 2004, January. Rail reform strategies: The Australian experience. In Governance, Regulation, and Privatization in the Asia-Pacific Region, NBER East Asia Seminar on Economics, Volume 12 (pp. 279-304). University of Chicago Press.

Pidgeon, N.F., 1991. Safety culture and risk management in organizations. Journal of cross-cultural psychology, 22(1), pp.129-140.

Profillidis, V.A., 2014. Railway management and engineering. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..

Reese, C.D., 2015. Occupational health and safety management: a practical approach. CRC press.

Robertson, H., 2016. A new ISO standard for occupational health and safety management systems: is this the right approach?.

Sapienza, H.J. and Grimm, C.M., 2012. Founder characteristics, start-up process, and strategy/structure variables as predictors of shortline railroad performance. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 22(1), pp.5-25.

Stouffer, K., Falco, J. and Scarfone, K., (2011). Guide to industrial control systems (ICS) security. NIST special publication, 800(82), pp.16-16.

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