Project managers request an Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) because subjecting their plans and processes to rigorous scrutiny by an experienced and independent third-party provides assurance that their projects are meeting recognized industry, legal and regulatory standards.
A thorough assessment by highly experienced domain experts offers a number of valuable safeguards for project managers. High on that list is the fact that it can help reduce the risk of time and cost overruns during the final stages as previously undetected problems emerge. Not only does this make sense on a purely economic basis, it also serves to protect the reputations of all involved.
But undergoing an ISA also demonstrates that a business is committed to operating in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner, sending a reassuring message of transparency to passengers, regulators, investors and employees alike.
An independent safety assessment can be applied to an entire rail system, a process or even a specific product.
In each case, the assessment will be an evidence-based judgement on compliance with safety requirements: an expert's opinion as to whether a level of risk is acceptable in a particular context and environment, based on the evidence provided.
The diverse nature of assignments we have seen through to completion means our engineers begin by defining the exact requirements and designing a proportionate, tailored programme of audit and assessment.
Some projects, for example, may require demonstration of full compliance with recognized international standards. But in other situations, absolute compliance may not be necessary - however even to make this judgement requires deep knowledge of the regulatons and awareness of recent changes.
Where standards or specifications do not exist, we have the in-house expertise to develop the appropriate criteria against which the project in question should be assessed.
Cooperation not confrontation
We don't try to catch projects out or request unnecessary amounts of documentation. Our approach is all about collaboration — though we clearly cannot give specific recommendations in the course of an assessment (as this would affect the independent nature of our role), we do provide general guidance on accepted industry good practice for the management's consideration.