Electrical safety audit for rail

Rail Network Electrical Safety Audit


Suburban rail networks are complex. They often contain a mix of different technologies and many significant hazards. Staff working on or around these networks need clear and detailed but practical safety rules, procedures and accountabilities in order to work safely and do their jobs well. 

Our Client operates an electrified rail network for suburban passenger services. As part of its ongoing risk assessment, the network's leadership team sought an external audit of the electrical risks to the business.

Our Role

The review, conducted by our experienced electrical engineers, used an audit methodology and included extensive interviews with key stakeholders within the organisation along with an analysis of key documents such as the Client's High and Low Voltage Electrical Safety Rules, Health and Safety Policy and Procedures, Risk Assessments, the organisational structure and position descriptions relevant to electrical work.

After concluding the data collection and analysis, Thomson Bridge developed a report presenting a clear, detailed and benchmarked view of the processes and systems keeping workers safe around the significant electrical hazards of the network. This report combined the detailed data gathering of the review with Thomson Bridge's decades of High Voltage experience to identify where best or leading practice was being applied, where the key risks were, and where priorities for improvement of the system should be. This report was presented to senior managers within the client organisation who accepted all findings and recommendations and responded swiftly to implement changes. 

While the findings were on balance positive, and it was recognised that the network had procedures in place for the safe access to its electrical network that were compliant with relevant regulations and standards, a key finding was that many key procedures were written in a manner which assumed a linear process which did not always adequately deal with deviation or issues that arise from real world situations. Also, the organisational structure and its roles were ambiguous in respect to responsibility for the electrical network and open to interpretation.

Changes implemented on the basis of the report include the appointment of a senior manager to the role of Operating Authority, and a clear line of delegation to appropriately trained staff. The Electrical Safety Manual was also re-formatted to ensure that the responsibilities outlined were clear and matched the intended work processes.

Project Details

  • Client: Rail Network owner
  • Industry: Rail
  • Our role: A health check of electrical risks to a transport network
  • Outcome: A positive report card and the opportunity to refine and clarrify roles of responsibility and delegation