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Network Rail can take the lead on standards

Mark Carne has come in with high aspirations and plans to challenge the status quo.

Top of his hit list is improving the health and safety performance of his own organisation and that of his supply chain.

As he says in our exclusive interview, certain aspects of the rail industry are ‘unacceptable’.

It’s hard to argue against his sentiments, while his proposed actions bear the hallmark of a practical thinker who’s done this before. With a history of reforming practices in the oil and gas sector, Mr Carne has a commendable track record.

“Time and again we hear how lessons have to be learnt, best practice shared and common standards rolled out”

He is implementing changes with a degree of urgency, having already set a date for banishing workers not directly employed by tier one contractors from holding key health and safety managerial roles, on the basis that such responsibility is best left to those with doing the job permanently.

That makes sense. Issuing workers with an iPad to help them stay better informed of changes to the rail network is another welcome move into the 21st century.

Culture shift

In ringing the changes, Mr Carne is setting out the cultural components that will be necessary for progress.

One of these is working with profitable companies - health and safety is, after all, an investment that can’t be done on the cheap. He has also stressed his desire for collaboration among contractors and his organisation.

Time and again we hear how lessons have to be learnt, best practice shared and common standards rolled out.

Business leaders taking part in our Construction News Barometer have highlighted the desire to step up performance around health and safety.

It would appear Network Rail and Crossrail are already in close dialogue. Both are powerful clients that can bring improvement in infrastructure projects and spearhead change across the industry.


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