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Railway Safety Communication Protocol in effect on 1 April 2020

March 26, 2020

Department of Transport

The Railway Safety Regulator has confirmed that the Determination on Verbal Safety-Critical Communication Protocol, published in Government Gazette 43110, comes into effect on 1 April 2020.

The transport department announced the effective date in Gazette 43138.

The protocol is focused on facilitating uniform and seamless verbal safety critical communication (VSCC) within railway operations in South Africa.

The protocol was researched and developed by the Railway Safety Regulator’s Working Group on Verbal Safety Critical Communication.

According to the introduction, the railway industry in South Africa has “seen itself conducting operational activities including verbal communication under normal, abnormal, and degraded modes of working, and during emergency situations”.

Numerous railway occurrences, including collisions and signals passed at danger, have occurred due to non-adherence to VSCC.

The protocol outlines the “minimum requirements for the management of VSCC, including the framework to be implemented for safety related personnel in the execution of their operational activities”.

The protocol focuses on verbal safety critical communication requirements, verbal safety critical communication protocol outline, general communication requirements and communication barriers.

According to the Railway Safety Regulator, railway operators have two years in which to implement the requirements set out in the protocol.