Ricardo has become the first organisation to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17020:2012 under Canada’s new Independent Safety Assessor for Railway Systems Accreditation Program.
The Program was launched by the Standards Council of Canada (SCC), the country’s accreditation organization, in November 2020 to bring rail safety and risk management processes in Canada into line with global best practice.
Although inspections and audits by an accredited third party is a widely used practice around the world, this is the first time the model has been adopted in North America.
It means experienced assurance providers such as Ricardo, who have demonstrated their technical capability, can now be appointed to major rail projects to inspect the engineering system safety plans, processes and documentation, and ensure the highest standards are instilled from initial design through to manufacture, installation and ongoing operations.
By subjecting their work to the rigorous scrutiny of an independent third party – an organisation with no financial interest or connection to the project – the project developers, transit authorities and travelling public can have confidence that safety was afforded the highest priority throughout.
“SCC is proud to have Ricardo as our first customer accredited to this brand-new program,” says Elias Rafoul, SCC Vice-President, Accreditation Services Branch. “Accreditation is a valuable tool in the standardization system, and we are proud to play our part by ensuring that conformity assessment bodies meet the highest national and international standards”.
Elias Rafoul, SCC Accreditation Services Vice-President and Marko Kroenke, Ricardo Inc. Director Business Development Canada
To secure accreditation from SCC, Ricardo had to prove it could offer the relevant competencies and resources to perform assessments in accordance with the Canadian Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment (CMREA) Standard for Railway Systems, as well as parts 1-3 of global standard EN 50126 - Railway Applications - The Specification and Demonstration of Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety (RAMS).
We also had to demonstrate the qualifications of our assessment teams - such as their understanding of relevant international standards (for example, EN 50128 and EN 50129) - as well as our documented practices for training, record keeping and internal auditing.
SCC will conduct annual audits to ensure our continued conformance with their accreditation criteria with reassessments held every fourth year.
Milestone for the Canadian rail industry
Paul Seller, the Managing Director of Ricardo’s rail division welcomed the accreditation as a step-change in safety standards for Canada’s railway.
“What a great milestone. Canada is about to embark on a range of national and urban rail projects that must be built to the highest technical standards. By taking advantage of global best practices and independent expert scrutiny, the travelling public can be certain that safety aspects have been embedded into designs from the earliest stages and remain at the forefront of day-to-day operations. This accreditation enables us to support many of the projects being lined up and we look forward to bringing our expertise to Canada’s rapidly growing rail sector”.
With this accreditation, we can bring the Canadian rail industry a wealth of expertise garnered from projects around the world. Previous assignments include key assurance or advisory roles on major programmes such as London’s forthcoming Crossrail route, Taiwan’s High Speed Railway and Denmark’s nationwide migration to ETCS technology, as well as the construction of metro lines in global cities such as Amsterdam, Bangkok, Beijing, Dubai, Riyadh and Seoul, and light rail schemes that serve medium-sized centres such as Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Utrecht and Tel Aviv.
Our teams also have extensive experience of rail product testing and approvals, ranging from High Speed fleets for Germany’s national network, freight locomotives to operate on the UAE’s cross-desert Etihad Rail route, or the development of new train control technologies in both China and Korea for application in domestic and international markets.