- Safety is one of VR Group’s key values.
VR Group’s safety activities are based on the safety policy that has been approved by the company's Board of Directors and it defines the importance and meaning of safety in the company. The safety policy forms the basis for the Rail Safety Programme and long-term safety activities.
The Rail Safety Programme is approved for four-year periods. It lays out the safety goals for the programme period, the achievement of which is ensured through the safety management system.
The occupational safety programme is approved separately for each business unit. The programme sets out the occupational safety objectives and measures. The implementation of the programme is verified through the occupational health and work safety management system, which is currently being updated into a well-being and occupational health management system.
Chief Security Officer Jari Hankala is responsible for developing and coordinating safety and risk management as well as the Group level safety guidelines. The business directors are responsible for defining the safety responsibilities of their business operations as well as for assessing whether their business operation's rolling stock is fit for use in transport and arranging their maintenance.
Safely at work
Like in previous years, there were no serious rail accidents or deaths or serious injuries among passengers in 2015.
There was an overall decline in deviations in both train operations and shunting. Only the number of shunting-related derailments increased.
The Group’s work accident frequency target of 16.5 was not exceeded and the number of serious accidents remained at the previous year’s level, There were no fatal accidents involving VR Group personnel. The target of 2,000 safety briefings was achieved, and the number of occupational safety observations tremendously exceeded the target (4,000 in total).
The Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi’s changes for regulations will come into effect in the beginning of June. These regulation changes mirror the EU’s general aim of improving the operational viability of European rail traffic and reducing national regulations. Easing regulations and increasing the use of alternative means for control have been included in the Finnish Government Programme. Similar goals are in operation behind the initiation of the complete renewal of the Act on Qualification Requirements for Social Welfare Professionals.
The changes in the regulatory environment will strongly define the focus areas of traffic safety during 2016. Trafi will become more of a supervisory authority and part of the regulations will be replaced with VR Group’s own guidelines. The persons who work in transport safety will be trained and the operations will be adjusted to fit the new guidelines.
The change in the regulatory environment will emphasise the responsibility of railway actors and present new demands for the VR Group’s railway safety management system. On the other hand, these developments can provide new possibilities for increasing efficiency, although this will require that the possible changes to current operating models are done in a controlled way and the risk associated with these changes are comprehensively assessed.
More investments to the development of the safety culture
VR Group's occupational safety frequency target on the Group level for 2016 is 15.5 (16.5). The Group aims to increase the number of occupational safety observations to 5,000 and the number of safety briefings to 2,400.
Thorough examination of deviations as well as defining corrective measures and the monitoring of their implementation will be further developed. For traffic safety, the monitoring of near misses will be implemented.
Level crossings as safety risks for railway traffic
The most probable and dangerous risks in rail traffic are connected with the coordination of rail traffic and track work and with level crossings. The safety of level crossings that are the responsibility of the Finnish Transport Agency will be improved mainly by taking them out of use and by developing technologies. In addition, the Finnish Transport Agency and Trafi are seeking other methods for improving the safety of level crossings.