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Safe by Design

What is Safe by Design?

Irrespective of where and what we design, Safety is an integral part of the design process. We need to understand what influences safe design and then adapt our processes – and more importantly our behaviours – to make it instinctive. Design must consider safety over the whole project lifecycle, from inception, to development, implementation, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and eventual decommissioning and disposal.  The Safe by Design (SbD) initiative is a rail projects led response to these challenges.

Safe by Design principles actively eliminate or reduce risk during design development for construction and maintenance activities and ensures that remaining risks are effectively communicated

How is the ‘Safe by Design’ initiative structured?

The SbD initiative is primarily driven by engineering discipline Working Groups comprising Building and Civils, Electrification and Plant, Signalling and Track.  These are supported by a Steering Group which reports to the Project Safety Leadership Group (PSLG) who sponsors this initiative (see diagram below).  The Steering Group is chaired by Richard Molloy from Atkins who also acts as the SbD representative on PSLG.

Buildings and Civils Working Group
Electrification and Plant Working Group
Signalling Working Group
Track Working Group
Safe by design Behavioural Change Working Group

For further information including details of the Steering Group members please look at our Terms of Reference May 2014 (PDF 30 KB)For further information about future meetings of the Steering Group and Discipline Working Groups please refer to our Meeting Calendar (XLS 178 KB)

What are our Steering Group priorities?


The Steering Group priorities focus on three key themes that have emerged from the discipline working groups.

(1) Managing risk: Developing guidance and common rules for the use of warning signs on drawings and also how the Common Safety Methods (CSM) and Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 (CDM) risk assessment requirements can be aligned.  It will also look at ways of improving the GRIP process to better address the way risks are documented and transferred during the project lifecycle.

(2) Communications and Assessing the Impact of SbD: Making better use of Safety Central and the web-based Collaboration Site for storing and sharing SbD information.  Work is underway to establish a mix of leading and lagging measures to help assess the impact of SbD.

(3) Procurement: Adapting Network Rail’s contracts and procurement processes to better promote Safe by Principles on projects. 


Our second SbD Briefing Note (PDF 160 KB) was issued in November 2013 and focuses on the steps being taken to broaden the initiative to include Building and Civils, Electrification and Plant, Signalling and Track Engineering Disciplines

Collaboration Site:

The Network Rail Collaboration Site now includes an area dedicated to Safe by Design. It provides a platform for sharing ‘SbD’ information and best practices and is intended to help facilitate an industry conversation aimed at improving Safety by Design.  

You will need to register in order to access the Collaboration Site. This tool is web-based and freely accessible to Network Rail employees (via IT Helpdesk on Connect) and our supply chain. Our suppliers can request access by sending an email to:

Note: Suppliers that already have access to Network Rail’s Standard Design Catalogue Collaboration Site will automatically be given access to the Safe by Design area.

Guidance on how to upload to SbD collobaration site (PDF 702 KB) Apr 2014
SbD Collaboration site Template (DOCX 1.00 MB) Apr 2014 

CDM 2015 within Network Rail information can be found here

You can access the Collaboration Site here





 Recent Meeting Information:

Slides, minutes and actions records from recent SbD Steering Group meetings can be found below:



How to get in touch:

If you have any queries regarding the content of this page or if you want to get in touch with the Safe by Design Steering Group please email Jason Johnston (Programme Engineering Manager)



























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