Rail Accident Investigation Branch

Rail Accident Investigation Branch

Infobox Organization
name= Rail Accident Investigation Branch

size= 250px
formation= 17 October 2005
type= Government Agency
location= Derby and Woking,
United Kingdom
leader_title= Chief Inspector
leader_name= Carolyn Griffiths
num_staff= 54 (including 26 inspectors) http://www.dft.gov.uk/foi/responses/2005/may/raib/letterregardingtherailaccide2437]
budget= 2005-6 £5,044,000
website= [http://www.raib.gov.uk http://www.raib.gov.uk]
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch is a government agency that became operational on 17 October 2005. Its primary role is the investigation of rail accidents in the United Kingdom and the Channel Tunnel in order to find a cause, not to lay blame.

Creation and Remit

Before October 2005, railway accidents were investigated by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate, which in 1990 became part of the Health and Safety Executive but is now part of the Office of Rail Regulation and the British Transport Police (if there were grounds for suspecting the commission of a crime, which in some cases there were). Whilst the police must always be involved when there may have been a crime, the involvement of HMRI as the principal safety investigating agency attracted criticism on the grounds that the HSE might be investigating itself, if, for example, the HSE had approved a track layout or a signalling scheme which was later suspected to have been at fault.

The Cullen Report into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 1999 recommended the establishment of an accident investigation body within the Department for Transport along the same lines as the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Air Accident Investigation Branch, bodies which have distinguished themselves by their professionalism and objectivity.

So in 2003 Parliament legislated - in the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003 - to create the RAIB as an independent body charged solely with establishing the facts of the case and assessing and evaluating causes, but not apportioning blame or esatblishing liability; nor does the RAIB enforce safety law or conduct prosecutions.

The RAIB also satisfies the government's duty under European Legislation ( [http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2004/l_220/l_22020040621en00160039.pdf European Railway Safety Directive 2004/49/EC] ) to provide an independent rail accident investigation body.

The RAIB has its remit laid down in law by the The Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) Regulations 2005, which principally require the branch to investigate any accident or dangerous occurrence that results in:

* The death of at least one person;
* Serious injury to five or more people; or
* Extensive damage to rolling stock, the infra-structure or the environment.

The RAIB has authority to investigate any accident that occurs on any of the following railway transport systems, but especially investigates those that may have implications for railway safety or those which "under slightly different circumstances, may have resulted in an accident. [http://www.raib.gov.uk/about_us/index.cfm#a5"] :

* The national railway networks in Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
* The Channel Tunnel (in co-operation with its equivalent operation in France);
* The London and Glasgow Underground systems, Midland Metro and other metro systems;
* Tramways
* Heritage railways (including narrow-gauge systems over 350mm gauge); and
* Cable-hauled systems of 1km or longer.

Chief Inspector

The head of the RAIB is Carolyn Griffiths, a railway engineer who has worked in the past in Singapore, Sweden and, in the mid-1990s, at the Office of Rail Regulation. The Deputy Chief Inspector is Andy Savage.

ee also

*Office of Rail Regulation
*Health and Safety Executive
*Air Accidents Investigation Branch
*Marine Accident Investigation Branch


External links

* [http://www.raib.gov.uk RAIB website]

Department for Transport (United Kingdom)

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