Safety Inspectorates and Safety Performance: A Tentative Analysis for Aviation and Rail in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSafety. 2016, 2(2) (13), 1-11. 10.3390/safety2020013
Safety inspectorates have been established for all modes of transport in Norway. This paper explores whether establishing a safety inspectorate is related to safety performance. Long-term trends in safety in aviation and rail were compared before and after safety inspectorates were established for these modes of transport. In aviation, there have been no passenger fatalities after the safety inspectorate was established. The number of (non-fatal) accidents in scheduled and charter flights has been between zero and five per year, which is higher than predicted according to the long-term trend in the period before the safety inspectorate was created. In rail, both the number of accidents and the number of passenger fatalities have been lower after the creation of the safety inspectorate than predicted according to long-term trends in the before-period. The paper shows statistical relationships indicating that safety performance has improved, at least in rail transport. A causal interpretation of these relationships is not possible on the basis of the analyses in this paper. Establishing safety inspectorates may improve transport safety, but showing this rigorously is extremely difficult.