This assessment must be carried out annually by the Department’s Rail Safety Authority (Rail Safety Branch), in accordance with ‘The Railways (Safety Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006’ (as amended). Prior to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, this assessment was conducted for all member states by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), using data provided to them for the UK as a whole. With EU Exit, Great Britain and Northern Ireland now need to produce their own assessment of achievement separately to the ERA.
It uses Common Safety Indicators data to assess the level of safety risk associated with six risk categories:
- Level crossing users
- Whole society (collective risk to all categories of persons above)
The report also compares the number of fatalities and weighted serious injuries (FWSI) in Northern Ireland against other European counties.
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- In 2020 there was acceptable safety performance for Northern Ireland in each of the six railway risk categories.
- Northern Ireland has the lowest number of FWSI for whole society (all risk categories combined).
- Northern Ireland also ranks favourably compared to other European countries in terms of passenger safety, level crossing user safety and trespasser safety.