Railway deaths on the rise | Infrastructure news

Railroad imageThe number of deaths caused by railway operational occurrences has increased by 8% in the 2016/17 reporting period according to the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR).

Approximately 495 fatalities have been recorded, which shows an increase of 8% compared to the 2015/16 reporting period according to Dr Cornel Manal the research general manager at the RSR.

About 2 079 people were injured in the current financial year, which shows a 10% decrease compared to the previous reporting period. In total, the number of operational occurrences stands at 4 066. This indicates a 5% decrease compared to the 2015/16 figure of 4 250.

“This figure is the lowest total number of operational occurrences since 2010/11,” explains Manal.

Gauteng accounted for about 29% of operational occurrences, followed by KwaZulu-Natal with 27% and Western Cape with 19%.

Human error the root of the problem

The report shows that Transnet and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Rail account for approximately 97% of all operational occurrences reported to the RSR. The percentage remains the same as the previous reporting period, with Transnet contributing 52% and PRASA Rail contributing 45% to all operational occurrences.

Close to 60% of all occurrences investigated were due to a human factor-related root cause.

Manal said not much progress has been made in reducing other types of occurrences such as level-crossing occurrences, people struck by trains, occurrences in which people travel outside the train (train surfing), and electric shock occurrences.

In terms of railway industry compliance, about 98% of operators seem to have complied with the reporting requirements as per the Railway Safety Regulator Act.


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