§ Mr. Morgan
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he has had with the chairman of Railtrack and the Health and Safety Commission concerning the instituting of an independent testing procedure for non-signalmen or taking control of panel boxes during periods of industrial dispute.
§ Mr. Freeman
The duty to ensure the competence of employees to carry out safety critical work rests with the employer, under the Railways (Safety Critical Work) Regulations 1994.
The Health and Safety Executive's railway inspectorate has carried out checks to ensure that Railtrack, as the employer of signalmen, allows only competent persons to take charge of panel boxes during periods of industrial dispute. The railway inspectorate will continue to carry out checks, as necessary.