18 Mar 2019

Draft Regulations on Railway Safety Occurances

The Railway Safety Regulator (“RSR”) has published for comments a determination regarding the category and type of notifiable railway occurrences to be managed in an operator’s safety management system (“SMS”). (GN 118, GG 42217, 8 February 2019, p25)


The determination is intended to ensure that notifiable occurrences are adequately managed within the operator’s SMS and that it includes systems and procedures to:

  • report notifiable occurrences to the RSR, within the time and manner required in the legislation, including all the information required by the RSR as per this determination;
  • conduct safety trend analysis, corrective action development and annual safety improvement plans;
  • manage the scene of a notifiable occurrence and preservation of evidence where reasonably practicable;
  • manage all notifiable occurrences, including procedures to enable the determination of which notifiable occurrences are to be investigated and how investigations are to be conducted; and
  • support systems and procedures to ensure that employees are appropriately trained and competent to deal with a notifiable occurrence.

Scope and content

In terms of the determination, the following operators must put in place systems and procedures to record and report notifiable occurrences:

  • Network Operators
  • Train Operators,
  • Station Operators; and/or
  • A combination of network, train and station operator.

Reportable occurrences

According to the determination, notifiable occurrences that are reportable to the RSR can be related to the following:

  • Operational railway safety occurrences;
  • Security related occurrences;
  • Transportation of Dangerous goods;
  • Fatalities and injuries to employees, contractors, passengers, members of public;
  • Damage to railway assets;
  • Damage to the environment;
  • Crowd related occurrences; and
  • Labour related unrest.

The determination provides that the management of notifiable occurrences must be closely aligned to emergency management planning, as an emergency incident may trigger a notifiable occurrence.

Mandatory notifiable occurrences to be managed within the operators’ SMS

The determination prescribes mandatory notifiable occurrences that operators must report to the RSR. The list of notifiable occurrences is annexed to the directive and categories as follows:

  • Operational Railway Occurrences
  • Security related occurrences
  • Precursors/Leading Indicators of railway occurrences as set out in Appendix A of Table 3 of the Regulations
  • Human Factor Occurrences
  • Fatalities and Injuries

Railway occurrence recording and reporting

According to the determination, operators must ensure that the procedures for recording and reporting of occurrences are established, developed or adopted and maintained. The format of the reports must be in accordance with prescribed RSR directives.

In the event of more than one operator being involved in a railway occurrence, all affected operators must report the occurrence to the Regulator. In addition to the reportable railway occurrences, operators are also expected to track these occurrences. According to the determination this could assist operators in assessing their own safety performances.

The determination provides that railway occurrences that result in fatalities, or significant damages to property and the environment must be reported by the operator to the national RSR within fifteen minutes from the occurrence of such incident and confirmed via email within 12 hours.

The determination provides that these occurrences include occurrences that result in significant damage to rolling stock and infrastructure, threatens nearby communities, causes environmental pollution (release or spillage of dangerous goods), major train disruptions that affect normal train operations as a result of force majeure or any other railway occurrence that may affect or threaten the safety of railway operations.

According to the determination these occurrences must also be confirmed by email to the RSR within twelve hours. Email notification must contain at least the following information:

  • the safety permit number;
  • the name of the operator;
  • the physical address of the operator;
  • the date of reporting the occurrence;
  • the date of the occurrence;
  • the time of the occurrence;
  • the place of the occurrence;
  • the province of the occurrence;
  • a short description of the occurrence;
  • details of dangerous goods involved, including details of the consignor, the quantity spilled, the shipping name, the United Nations (UN) number and also damage to property, assets and the environment; and
  • the name and contact details of the reporting person.

The determination also prescribes how and when other reports should be submitted to the RSR and what information these reports must contain.

For any queries please contact our EHS team:

Ian Sampson (Head of Environmental & Clean Energy Law)
+27 31 575 7202  |  sampson@wylie.co.za


Siya Mkhize (Partner)
+27 31 575 7224  |  smkhize@wylie.co.za


Ayanda Msimang (Associate)
+27 31 575 7212  |  amsimang@wylie.co.za