Personal tools

Interview with the Course Director


Rail Engineering & Design Safety Management (EDSM) is a 3-day intensive course produced by Informa Corporate Learning.

It's about to hit the market and is designed to teach rail personnel a suite of EDSM skills. As of 2013, these skills are now part of the mandatory licensing for those working in the rail environment - a 'rail safety worker'.

Rail Express spoke with course instructor Dr Howard Parkinson about the EDSM Course and the benefits it will offer participants.

REX: Can you explain the key principles of EDSM, and their relevance and significance for the rail industry.

The course provides a structured and robust approach to managing complex railway projects safely that is aligned with CENELEC standard IEC62278:2002 and AS4292.2006. It is risk and lifecycle based.

Our training approach recognises a progressive assurance philosophy throughout projects. This approach when implemented ensures  that final acceptance should mainly entail: providing the evidence defined in the assurance planning as the justification that the system is fit for its intended purpose and, most importantly, safe.

By combining international best practice we can provide the best training solutions available for these aims.

REX: Why are EDSM skills more important than ever?

We are using increasingly complex socio technical systems, especially ones including software, where accidents are no longer caused by equipment failure but interactions that are hard to predict.

We all have to be aware of the latest thinking in these areas. This has to be provided in a cost effective manner and without the right tools, decisions will be less than optimal.

REX: Why have you developed this course?What gaps in the industry does it fill and where and how does it add value?

My mission is to bring vitality, intellectual curiosity and innovation to railway training. Most training is provided by consultancies that see it as a side line.

There are no courses that bring together the key elements of railway safety in the way this course does. The emphasis is to design in the safety from the start by taking a risk based, lifecycle approach.

REX: What is your background in the industry and what kinds of knowledge and expertise do you bring to your role as course instructor for this course?

I am a charted engineer and a Member of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (MIRSE) and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

I have over 20 years' experience in the international railway industry working on mainly signalling, rolling stock, infrastructure and railway systems projects at a senior level.  Project positions at senior levels have included systems assurance manager, lead Safety assessor and head of systems engineering /RAMS and chief rail safety regulator.

I have expertise in systems engineering, compliance, independent safety assessment, RAMS, CENELEC, EN5012X, Yellow Book, various MIL STDs, ERTMS European interoperability and UK legislation. Techniques used include FMEA, fault trees, event trees, RCM, simulation and associated software.

I have produced a wide range of technical publications and research. My experience includes international assignments in the Middle East, Germany, Holland, Brazil, Korea, China, Australia etc.

I am commercially very aware having conducted extensive business development and led several successful large bids.

REX: What will this course offer rail industry professionals and what are some of the key learning outcomes?

By attending this EDSM course and taking away the key ideas and tools, you will be in a better position to realise the following benefits:

  • Communication within projects will improve, avoiding a disconnect between design  and Safety /Systems Engineering
  • Correct planning so that safety is given enough resources and therefore not “back fitted” at the end to enable the acceptance hurdle to be met.
  • Discipline specialist adopting a systems integration approach and not a “Silo Mentality” i.e. not considering wider interactions.
  • Clarity about whether the risks are acceptable.
  • Clarity regarding the development and demonstration of safety and performance targets
  • A full understanding in the project disciplines regarding duties under Health and Safety Legislation
  • An understanding of engineering safety and health & safety and the demarcation and overlap
  • A concise and clear engineering safety management system without unwieldy hazard logs, wasted meetings and effort caused by a lack of planning and process definition

REX: Can you give Rail Express readers some idea of the course content?

This unique training course is structured around 16 modules.

The opening module provides background to EDSM and a brief overview of its application in the railway drawing upon best practice. The following modules introduce a number of EDSM fundamentals and the approach suggested by the good practice and standards for putting them into place.

Comprehensive guidance on implementing safe work systems in the railway is provided and all participants will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience of the main techniques involved. The course content is mapped to:

  • Industry standard competencies, skills and evidence requirements relevant to rail safety work (see our website for details)
  • Industry regulations
  • Australian and international standards

The lectures are interspersed with practical exercises. There is short multiple choice examination at the end of the course.

REX: Who are the people who would benefit most from this type of training?

I focus all my energy on providing quality training products that will help the participants including member such as – decision makers, project managers, line managers, engineers, designers and others involved with changes to the railway who need an understanding of the latest best practice.

Keep updated with the latest news and happenings  Follow us on Linkedin  Follow us on Twitter  Featured speaker presentations  Watch event highlights and exclusive interviews  Google+  Flickr-Informa Australia