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 Rail News
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Integrated energy and chemical company Sasol has partnered with Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) professor and founder and CEO of PanAvest Partnership Dr Douglas Boateng to publish a series of books on executive supply chain management aimed at...
The World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF’s) 2014 Living Planet Index (LPI) indicates that there has been a 52% decline in vertebrate species since 1970. The Index tracked the trends of 10 000 discrete populations of over 3000 vertebrate species between 1970 and 2010.
Rwanda has joined a number of East African countries seeking to import electricity from Ethiopia as its demand grows. After it became apparent several generation project it is implementing will not come on stream early enough, now plans to import 400 MW from Ethiopia...
Metrorail’s first new passenger train will arrive in November next year, says Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) CEO Lucky Montana. “Next year we will be able to put our hands around the infrastructure and equipment we have been talking about for so long.”
The Competition Commission has launched an investigation into what it says are “price fixing, market division and collusive tendering in the market for the manufacture and supply of automotive components to original equipment manufacturers” (OEMs, or vehicle...