Our ref: HSR/4/2
Head Office Circular: NP/197/22
16th September 2022
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,


Following receipt of a report from RMT Health and Safety Officer Sarah Friday about the breakfast launch event for the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) Annual Report of Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways 2021 – 2022, at its meeting on 13th September your National Executive Committee noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety sub-committee:

We note the report https://bit.ly/3BeTezi from the RMT Health and Safety Officer and are concerned that the launch event for the ORR annual report 2021 -2022 appeared to be a cosy affair. Particularly so at a time when health and safety standards in the rail industry are under attack through the guise of employers ‘modernisation plans’ for the industry and also employers are using ‘contingency staff’ to RMT break strike action, ORR’s refusal to intervene to maintain rail safety standards indicates that we have a regulator that is all too compliant with the Government.

In connection with the report contents we instruct the General Secretary to write to ORR:

to contest their assertion in 1.131 of their report in relation to train dispatch ‘that the more people involved in determining that it is safe to dispatch a train, the more chance there is of failure in safety critical communications, human error or delay, and a dangerous situation developing’

requesting more information on 1.170 section of their report as regards Diesel Engine Exhaust Emissions as this subject matter chimes with RMT’s ‘Clean Air campaign’.

The General Secretary to write to Network Rail (NWR) re 1.37 of the ORR report and its comments on Occupation Health.

The General Secretary to utilize in RMT campaigning work the ORR comments re ‘Modernising Maintenance’, and how NWR has struggled when it comes to implementing new technologies.

The General Secretary to raise in the forthcoming RMT meeting with RAIB to discuss our response to their Carmont report, that in relation to Civil Engineering assets (that were for example such a causal issue in the Carmont disaster) ORR writes that ‘Our work this year has demonstrated that, still, too often NWR is not getting the basics of asset stewardship and compliance with process right.’
Also to note in the ORR report: Annual Assessment of NWR April 2021 to March 2022 www.orr.gov.uk/sites/default/files/2022-07/annual-assessment-of-network-rail-2021-22.pdf that NWR progress in applying post-Carmont taskforce recommendations (report authored by Dame Julia Slingo and Lord Robert Mair, published February 2021) that NWR has ‘failed to provide any tangible supporting evidence to demonstrate’ of how the task force recommendations will be implemented.

Branches and Regional Councils to be notified accordingly and to receive, along with all RMT safety reps, the Health and Safety officers report https://bit.ly/3BeTezi.

I am acting in line with these instructions. Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely

Michael Lynch
General Secretary