At the start of your safety case you need to provide some context. A summary of your organisation, what’s important to it and the types of rail activity it does all provide useful background to help explain what your approach to staying safe will be.

Your organisation  [s30(1)(c)]

Describing your organisational purpose (why you carry out your rail activities) is a good starting point as it is what you must achieve safely. Railways may be core to your purpose or just the tool you have chosen to achieve it. For example:

  • Are you part of a passenger service?
  • Do you keep rail heritage alive?
  • Do you provide tourist experiences?
  • Are you part of the logistics chain in a larger business?

Your organisational values (how your leadership communicates how it wants the organisation to behave) are also key to the introduction as they set your safety culture and provide the foundation for all your policies and strategies.

Explaining how your organisation is arranged helps to show how safety will be communicated and how different teams work together safely. Some areas we recommend that you comment on include:

  • How are you governed?
  • Is your organisation governed directly by the owners or does it have a board of directors or a committee?
  • Are you part of a larger, parent organisation?
  • Are there any other organisations involved with yours?
  • What is the structure?
  • How are the different rail activities separated into teams?
  • Where do functions like safety and assurance sit?
  • Your team
  • What types of expertise do you have available – from your own team, from parent organisations, from contractors?
  • Do you have paid staff, volunteers, or a mix of both?
  • Do you use contractors or casual labour for any of your rail activities?

Your rail activities  [s30(1)(a)]

Describing your rail activities is a key part of the context for your safety case, but only at a high level. Any change to your safety case in future needs our approval, so don’t be too specific (eg instead of saying ‘we operate from 7am to 5pm’, you could say ‘we are a daytime only operation’).

Some areas we recommend you comment on include:

  • What rail activities do you do?
  • Do you own, maintain or operate rail vehicles (or all three)?
  • Do you control a rail network or operate on someone else’s?
  • Do you own or maintain rail infrastructure (eg track, signals, bridges)?
  • What type of rail vehicles are you involved with?
  • Are they freight, passenger or work trains?
  • Are they custom designed, production stock or restored?
  • What motive power do they use?
  • Do you own them or are they provided by others?
  • When do you carry out your rail activities?
  • When do you run – only parts of the year, month, week or day?
  • How often do you run?
  • Do you do the same thing day-to-day or is it constantly changing?
  • Where do you operate?
  • What is the size and scope of your rail activity?
  • Where is your site?
  • Does any other activity go on around your railway track (eg an industrial site)
  • Do you operate on a private line, siding and/or KiwiRail’s NRS?

Other legislation you must comply with

If you’re using your safety case to cover other legislative obligations, these should be pointed out clearly in your safety case and how they relate to your rail activities. This demonstrates your awareness of regulatory duties and makes our regulatory decision making easier.

When describing these obligations, consider the key duties you have under these laws (eg reporting accidents and incidents) and the roles you fulfil under these laws.