The European Railway Agency (ERA) has been cooperating with EA throughout the development of Regulation (EU) N°402/2013 on the Common Safety Method (CSM) for risk assessment and repealing Regulation 352/2009, for the purposes of which ERA recommends accreditation.
According to Article 13 of Regulation (EU) N°402/2013, in order to ensure that they are acknowledged in the same way in the whole EU, as well as in all OTIF * Contracting States, and that they deliver a similar quality of independent safety assessment, CSM assessment bodies shall fulfil the requirements in Annex II of the CSM for risk assessment, and be either accredited by the national accreditation body (NAB) of the State where it is established, or recognised by a recognition body of the State where it is established.
Due to the specific nature of its activities, the CSM assessment body can be considered as an inspection body: ISO/IEC 17020:2012 is the best appropriate standard for CSM assessment in risk management.
On 12 May 2015, ERA published an explanatory note describing the needs of accreditation for the purposes of Regulation (EU) N°402/2013, which is available from the following dedicated ERA webpage:
The information provided in this document can considerably help EU Member States in taking their decision to use accreditation to check CSM assessment bodies’ competence as required in Article 13 of the Regulation. Indeed in May 2014, the European Commission and ERA contacted EU Member States and competent Ministries to know whether they have selected accreditation, recognition or both possibilities to acknowledge the competence of CSM assessment bodies.
Because several countries have not replied yet whether they intend to rely on accreditation or not, the publication of this ERA document is a good opportunity to invite EA-Member NABs to promote the use of accreditation for assessing CSM assessment bodies’ competence and lobby their relevant national authorities for not excluding the accreditation option.
In the coming months, a training session for all NABs and recognition bodies should be organised by ERA in order to explain them the requirements of Regulation (EU) N°402/2013 and the specificities for the railway sector. Information will be circulated to NABs by EA in due time.
EA is maintaining a constant liaison with ERA thanks to Phil Shaw (UKAS), Philippe Cassan (COFRAC) and Martins Ozolins (LATAK) as experts in the field.
* OTIF: Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail