Common safety barrier definitions to improve safety and interoperability
Today the demand for better railways drives the accelerated introduction of digital systems. That, in turn, accelerates the introduction of digital safety management systems. But as different railway organisations are digitizing at different speeds, Babylonian confusions emerge for the digital future of railway safety. The UIC created a work group on safety barriers to design a set of rules and definitions to combat confusion.
The work group has discussed many aspects of safety management and safety barriers including existing and proposed legislation, safety management systems, barrier models and various hierarchical arrangements of barriers. It has settled on a number of common definitions for safety barriers to support improvement in safety and interoperability globally.
The work group members believe that these definitions pave the way for consistent mutual understanding about safety barriers in the exchange of information and data between railway undertakings, infrastructure managers and their subsidiaries. We believe that the rules and definitions help because:
- Opportunities are created for shared understanding up to the point of interoperability between safety management systems;
- (digital) railway safety (knowledge) models can be harmonized by using shared principles;
- Experiences from different railway undertakings may be exchanged more easily, both by humans and by computers; and
- The rules provide a foundation for international supply chains for digital safety management systems that ensures fair competition.
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