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Independent Safety Assessment

Put safety at the heart of your railway operations

Put safety at the heart of your railway operations

What is a railway Independent Safety assessment (ISA)?

Like most industries, railway technologies have become increasingly complex over time. These developments have made railway safety assessments not only more necessary but more challenging. While this is generally true for all subsystems, it is particularly the case for large railway infrastructure projects. The complexity of a complete railway system makes it difficult to accurately analyse and ensure system safety. The risks resulting from this increase in complexity can be mitigated by an Independent Safety Assessment (ISA).

ISA is the formation of a judgement, separate and independent from any railway engineering design, development or operational personnel, that the safety requirements for the railway project are appropriate and adequate for the planned application and that all the systems and civil works assets as well as Operation and Maintenance (O&M) processes are compliant with those safety requirements.

The Independent Safety Assessor’s role is to verify whether the relevant technical and operational risks have been reduced to an acceptable level.

Why IS INDEPENDENT Safety assessment important?

Independent Safety Assessment helps suppliers, operators and system integrators prevent failures before they occur as well as ensuring their systems are compliant with the safety requirements and global railway standards. By providing you with independent safety assessment for your entire railway system TÜV SÜD ensures:

  • Independent judgements and opinions are free from project constraints
  • A completely independent final judgment based on the acceptability of the safety justification (including deviations) given by the project in the Safety Case. This includes checking that the required constraints are captured in safety-related application conditions and are sufficient to control the risk.
  • Reduction of project risk due to competent third-party opinion
  • Safety arguments as well as the treatment of railway hazards and risk have been appropriately and effectively addressed
  • The project is delivered in compliance with international railway standards regarding safety targets
  • Operators are given increased confidence independent from potential supplier constraints
  • Technical and commercial stakeholders as well as regulatory bodies are assured that the project is being managed professionally and the safety targets are being met throughout the life cycle

TÜV SÜD is your expert for INDEPENDENT safety assessment

TÜV SÜD has extensive experience in assessing entire railways systems (both the overall system and subsystems) in different countries around the world.

Our ISA rail methodology is targeted to perform specific assessments or/and audits to establish the maturity and rigor of the safety management process in place by all the actors concerned to ensure a safe implementation of the assessed railway project. During ISA, our experts will adopt a proactive stance by raising questions and requesting additional information or analysis as opposed to being a passive reviewer of deliverables. This proactive approach not only helps to detect issues earlier in the process but also establishes context to ensure the implications of any issues are fully understood in order to take appropriate actions that will address the issues comprehensively.

Our rail experts possess strong knowledge and experience in all disciplines and at all technical levels of brownfield and greenfield projects, ranging from computer chip evaluation to complete railway systems. TÜV SÜD is recognised by many railway and national safety authorities as an independent safety assessor for railway applications and is accredited as an inspection body (D-IS-11190-01-00) according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17020 by the German Accreditation Body.

TÜV SÜD’s overall ISA rail services

TÜV SÜD provides Independent Safety Assessment services tailored to your specific needs by identifying the approaches most suited to your project from the outset.

Our ISA services follow the typical phases and stages of the CENELEC EN50126 project lifecycle:

  • Concept and system definitions
  • Risk analysis
  • Systems requirements & apportionment
  • Preliminary and detailed design
  • Manufacture & installation
  • System validation and system acceptance (inc. handover & trial operations); and
  • Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

We provide independent assessments in compliance with global and regional railway safety standards:

  • CENELEC standards EN 5012x: CENELEC is the European Committee for electrotechnical standardization and responsible for standardization in the electrotechnical engineering field. Standards 50126, 50128 and 50129 are generally accepted as the worldwide references for railway safety and are the base reference for assessments performed by Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) bodies
  • Common Safety Method (CSM) (402/2013)
  • Functional Safety IEC 61508
  • National rules and regulations
  • Railway standards directly relevant to electrical, mechanical systems and civils structures for specific products and railway sub-systems

Our experts can provide a system safety assessment with an ISA and certification service portfolio that covers the entire technical spectrum of a complete railway project, including:

  • Track civil infrastructure and structural engineering (i.e. stations, tunnels and viaducts, earthworks)
  • Mechanical & electrical engineering (i.e. Earthing & Lightning protection and EMC)
  • Railway systems (i.e. telecommunications and SCADA)
  • Signalling systems (i.e. generic and specific signalling applications according to EN and IEC standards)
  • Traction & rolling stock (inc. yellow plant)
  • Power supply and distribution (inc. overhead line electrification and third rail traction power)
  • Testing & commissioning
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Fire protection, emergency and rescue concepts (including railway stations, tunnels and vehicles)
  • Management processes, for example:
  • Quality management and quality control (inc. lead assessor and lead audit)

o Risk management 

o Safety and RAM engineering

o System integration and interface management (i.e. System/System and System/Civil Works,                  etc.)

  o Verification and validation

  o Change control and configuration management

  o Virtual reality and BIM (Building Information Modeling)

The independent safety assessor will not be involved directly into the design, installation, and railway testing & commissioning, but will assess how well safety is implemented into the railway during the project life cycle.


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