May 27, 2011
Regulator moves to improve rail safety in SABack
Engineering|Pretoria|Africa|Components|Environment|Safety|System|Systems|Transnet|Africa|South Africa|Systems|Transport|Transport Systems|Brenda Madumise|George Mahlalela|Kethabile Moya|Rail|Operations
© Reuse this
“In terms of safety, we have problems that have been solved in other countries, such as level crossing accidents. These are basics – it can be solved and we now have the determination to solve these challenges,” he added.
In the 2009/10 financial year, 400 of the 602 people struck by train were trespassing when killed, while 181 level crossing accidents resulted in 34 fatalities. Over 740 people fell between a train and a platform while disembarking from and embarking on a train.
In the space of two months, about 226 commuters were injured in a train accident in Rosslyn, north of Pretoria, and 857 in a recent accident in Soweto. Excluding these two accidents, from April 2010 to March 2011 there were eight accidents in the rail sector, but no fatalities.
Safety remained a key element of railway operations in South Africa, Mahlalela said. “For too long, we have been witness to a deteriorating state of safety. The cost, as a result of accidents in the transport system, added a tremendous burden to the economy and the fiscus. ”
In the 2009/10, the direct costs of collisions and derailments for operators Transnet Freight Rail and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was R314,7-million.
To ensure that the country improved the standard of its transport systems, it was necessary to prioritise rail as the “future backbone of the transport system.” But, to do this, safety remained critical.
Mahlalela said the new national standard on human factors management, which was launched on Friday, would be key to improving safety, as human error was the primary cause of accidents and incidents.
The standard was developed primarily to provide railway operators with the minimum requirements to manage human factors and has been adopted by the RSR board, which has made compliance with the standard mandatory for all railway operators in South Africa.
The standard is applicable to all employees, including management, undertaking safety-related work in the railway environment.
The requirements covered in this standard have an overlap with other components such as recruitment, training, human resource issues, health and medical issues as well with occupational health and safety.
Implementation of the standard starts immediately and over 200 operators were to submit implementation plans to the RSR with applications for the renewal of their permits by the end of June, RSR acting CEO Kethabile Moya said.
Training would be rolled out throughout the country.
“This standard represents a step forward to achieve our safety goals. We will continue to beef up capacity, to enforce and to inspect. We are far behind as a country and I believe we will be able to leapfrog some of these steps if we remain focused,” Mahlalela told Engineering News Online.
Meanwhile, the RSR identified capacity challenges as a constraint, as the regulator only has ten safety inspectors under its wing countrywide. Chairperson Advocate Brenda Madumise said that in order to respond in “real-time”, the regulator needed “more soldiers”.
Mahlalela acknowledged that the RSR was underfunded and the need to increase its budget, but added that views pointed to regulators not being “impressionable entities”.
On the recent train accident in Soweto, Madumise told media that Prasa would incur penalties. “Such offences could result in the withdrawal of an operators licence. However, we are looking into the matter seriously and are waiting for a report on the accident.”
The report would be ready on May 27.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Transport & Logistics News
Updated 2 hours 7 minutes ago Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has approved the new Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicles – Automotive Investment Scheme (MHCV-AIS) guidelines aimed at stimulating investment into the production of these vehicles in South Africa. The MHCV-AIS, which was a...
Updated 2 hours 36 minutes ago South Africa’s rail network fell victim to a total of 4 703 separate “security-related incidents”, which largely comprised acts of vandalism and theft, in the 2013/14 financial period – denoting a 14% jump in the number of similar occurrences in the prior year, the...
Updated 3 hours ago Egypt will use machines made by a German firm to bore at least four tunnels under the Suez Canal, part of an $8-billion project to expand the waterway that the government hopes will raise revenues and foreign currency reserves. Unlisted Herrenknecht AG was discussing...
Updated 4 minutes ago Ghana's government has given Italian energy firm Eni the final green light to develop gas resources in the Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP) block, expected to begin production in 2017, it said on Monday. The government, hoping to boost oil and gas production, said...
Updated 2 hours 4 minutes ago Electrical, instrumentation and control engineering firm Proconics has concluded a deal that will see private equity newcomer Dlondlobala Capital taking up a 26% stake in the 19-year-old company. “Proconics is committed to meeting the compliance and legislative...
Updated 2 hours 7 minutes ago Independent power producer Ipsa has missed a November 21 deadline to pay Ethos Energy Italia – formerly Turbocare – an initial €3-million payment as part of a dispute settlement reached last month in relation to the sale and purchase agreements and refurbishment...