Wednesday 27 September 2023

UIC participation at the European Rail Safety Days 2023

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The European Rail Safety Days 2023 were held from 20 to 22 September in Tallinn and organised by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA).

The conference delivered a diverse range of stimulating presentations by experts and leaders from railways and other high-risk industries, addressing safety culture peer reviews, in-depth event investigations, innovative training solutions and more. Additionally, participants were given the opportunity to participate in interactive workshops so they could delve deeper into topics of interest to them. 

On 20 September, Virginie Papillault, UIC Manager, Human & Organisational Factors and Safety Culture, took part in the first session which was dedicated to Safety Culture Peer Reviews with Kim Drews (European Union Agency for Railways), Doris Horvath (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Luxembourgeois – CFL) and Claude Marx (CFL) and was moderated by Enno Wiebe (CER). She gave a presentation on “Fostering cooperation between railway stakeholders to improve safety culture”, then described the structure and overview of the EU Twinning II project and presented its key actors. She explained what a peer review is and detailed its benefits, such as allowing the development of a systemic view on safety and how it brings a positive approach to safety culture, both for the host company and for the team of reviewers.

Feedback testimonials from key actors in the Twinning II peer review were also given by Ludwig Koschutnig, ÖBB Infrastructure (host company); Neil Blakeley, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail (team leader and reviewer); and Vincent Vanhoutte, Infrabel (host company).

A follow-up of the EU Twinning II project was also presented by Virginie Papillault. Final key words were said on behalf of François Davenne, highlighting that this project is of great added value, not only to the consortium members and to UIC and ERA, but also for the entire railway community of actors and stakeholders, as it provides the opportunity to develop a common methodology, thanks to peer reviews, towards a positive railway safety culture.

You can consult the Safety Culture Peer Review handbook developed by UIC and European Union Agency for Railways here:

On 21 September, Virginie Papillault (UIC) and Fabrizio Carpinelli (ERA) ran a workshop on “How to conduct and participate in a peer review”, with Neil Blakeley (Irish Rail), Ken Byrne (Irish Rail), Paul Hodgson (CFL Cargo), Thierry Saule (SNCF Réseau) and Cédric Cassanet (DB Cargo).

The purpose of the workshop was to present and launch the new Safety Culture Peer Review handbook created by UIC and ERA and to discuss feedback from experienced stakeholders who had already conducted a peer review, on the benefits and challenges of peer reviews.

In the afternoon, Virginie Papillault (UIC), Jayne Yeo (ERA), Nora Balfe (Irish Rail) and Michaela Schwarz (ÖBB) gave a presentation on “Sharing is caring – How RailHOF can help you to overcome safety issues” during the session focusing on innovative solutions. This session also involved Amir Haj Bolouri (University West, Sweden) and Isabelle Collin (SNCF Transilien) and was moderated by Götz Walther (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen – VDV).

“RailHOF” is a new digital platform, designed to share, connect and exchange knowledge about Human and Organisational Factors (HOF) and safety.

RailHOF is also a scalable, user-centred tool that has been developed to better understand users’ needs. The RailHOF team presented the platform and how it was developed, then showed some statistical analysis and finally demonstrated RailHOF in action. The closing words were “No deposit – no return” to invite members to actively participate in RailHOF and share their practical experiences with other members, because “sharing is caring”.

For more information, please visit the platform at

For further information, please contact Virginie Papillault, Human & Organisational Factors and Safety Culture Manager at:

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