Independent Safety Assessment

Independent Safety Assessment
Copenhagen metro

What is an Independent Safety Assessment?

An Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) is a service undertaken by a third party to confirm that a product, system or entire railway meets recognised industry, legal and regulatory standards.

It can encompass the safety assessment and audit of any design, manufacture, installation, testing and safety documentation for the engineering systems, and extend to any procedures, preparations and safety policies in place ahead of a railway's entry into service or a product's release to the market.

What are the benefits of Independent Safety Assessments?

Appointing an ISA demonstrates that your business is committed to operating in a safe, sustainable and efficient manner.

By proving that the safety aspects of your products or systems have been subjected to rigorous and continual oversight by a third party with no financial interest or connection to the project, you are sending a reassuring message of transparency to passengers, regulators, investors and employees.

Ricardo can provide ISA services as either an accredited (via Ricardo Certification) or non-accredited service. Accredited services are delivered in line with the requirements of EN17020 (Inspection Body). Non-accredited ISA will typically be undertaken in line with the client's own specifications and requirements but will adopt the accredited manual wherever possible.

A rail industry first

In 2016 we become the first independent assurance provider in the rail market to offer a UKAS accredited ISA service. To earn this accreditation, our ISA processes and structures were assessed against BS EN ISO/IEC 17020 Type A, showing our commitment to the highest levels of competence, independence and consistency.

We have worked on changes to complex products, overseen updates to existing systems, and supported new railways from initial design to commission.

The service typically applies the CENELEC EN50126 and EN50129 standards as the basic criteria against which the safety engineering of railway products and systems are assessed. They define a systems and safety engineering lifecycle and the contents of safety cases for railway safety systems.

These standards call up a range of other relevant standards such as CENELEC EN50128 and EN50657 for software, CENELEC EN50121 for electromagnetic compatibility, and CENELEC EN50159 for communications.

However, ISA work can be performed against other relevant standards, such as IEC 61508. We can also apply standards directly relevant to electrical and mechanical systems and civil structures for specific products and railway sub-systems.

Get in touch with our experts

Find out more about how we can help you by contacting our service leader, Stephen Clarke (see panel) or by email: [email protected]

Hitachi Rail STS ETCS assessment

Hitachi Rail STS ETCS assessment

Ricardo colleagues from our UK, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia offices are providing ISA services for the installation of Hitachi STS signalling technology on Queensland's rail network.

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The collaboration between us and the assessor was very good... this is definitely what we wished for Knorr-Bremse Systeme für Schienenfahrzeuge GmbH 2017
The collaboration between us and the assessor was very good... this is definitely what we wished for
Danish resignalling programme

Danish resignalling programme

The Danish resignalling programme is the largest of its kind that Europe has ever seen. We have been the Independent Safety Assessor since our appointment to the programme in 2010. Learn our assurance work spans all aspects of the programme in our case study. 

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