Prevention through Engineering and Design

The aim of this page is to provide a central point for a number of safety related topics, under the banner of “Prevention through Engineering and Design”. It is intended primary for Network Rail staff, but has been provided on safety central to share our thinking and tools. We hope this transparency will generate collaboration for this topic, and provide a means to receive ideas for improvement. David Burgess is providing the technical lead in this topic area and feedback can be sent to  . Network Rail employees can join the conversation via the PtED Yammer group.

Prevention through Engineering and Design

Further information on each of these areas can be found on the pages under “in this section” on the right hand side of this page.

What is PtED?

Across the world Prevention through Engineering and Design (PtED) goes by many names; Safety in Design, Safety by Design, Prevention by Design. Regardless what we call it we all have the same objective – to utilise human skills and knowledge during formal “design” to shape the built environment to eliminate or reduce injuries and fatalities to those that build, maintain and use these products of human labour (outcomes). We also know that the management of design and the context in which it occurs (implementation factors) can be enablers or constraints to our goal.

PtED within Network Rail is based on two core concepts:

  1. Systems Thinking applied to safety (Hierarchy of complexity and constraints), based on Nancy Leveson’s book “Engineering a Safer World”.
  2. The Szymbersk’s Time-Safety Influence Curve, but extended to cover the asset whole-life and not just change phase. We recognised the benefit of front-loading safety into our change projects.

The Szymbersk’s Time-Safety Influence Curve

What are we doing in this area?

  1. Conducting a serious of “Enterprise risk workshops” to understand how this relates to our corporate risk profile
  2. Developing a corporate policy that will be issued as a new level 1 standard
  3. Creation of a senior-level steering group to provide leadership and integration across the business
  4. Developing tools and guidance based on feedback and demand
  5. Launching an internal survey, and working to make it available for external organisations.

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