Rail News

Rail Regulator Publishes Safety Principles for Driver Controlled Operation

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published safety principles it expects train companies to follow when rolling out and managing Driver Controlled Operation (DCO).

Six high level principles have been drawn up in consultation with industry and the trade unions. They are designed as a framework for train companies who are considering introducing, or who are operating, DCO.

Driver Controlled Operation
Southern Train © Matt Buck (license)

Driver Controlled Operation

Driver controlled operation describes the method of working where the driver is responsible for door operation and determining that it is safe to start the train. How the driver determines whether the train is safe to start will be dependent upon the method of train dispatch and whether the supporting risk assessment requires other safety critical staff to be involved.

The Principles set out that DCO schemes need to be well planned, with appropriate implementation timescales and developed against a shared understanding of how to handle any issues which need to be addressed.

Ian Prosser, HM Chief Inspector of Railways, ORR, said:

“ORR’s Principles are designed to give guidance to industry about how best to plan and implement driver controlled operation. The most important element is planning new arrangements well in advance, talking with staff and their representatives to address concerns and ensure they are informed about the progress of plans.

“These Principles reinforce our view that suitable equipment, proper procedures and competent staff must be in place for the safe implementation of driver control operation.”

The Principles are part of the rail regulator’s overall approach to railway safety which helps train companies and their staff understand what is needed to comply with health and safety requirements. This is part of our ongoing work with industry to continuously improve the approach to all types of train dispatch.

Original article © ORR.

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