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SafeStart 2018 from Inside Out Group on Vimeo.

Railway safety event SAFESTART18 took place at the end of January at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire and attracted over 1000 visiting delegates representing more than 350 organisations from across the rail sector.  With a shared vision of safety on the railway and the powerful message of “everyone home safe everyday” this event provided an unique platform for anyone working in or on the railway to improve their knowledge and discover the latest innovations in safety as well as business networking opportunities.

The Safestart Conference provided delegates with a lively and engaging series of presentations looking at safety from all angles. We were delighted that Bill Cooke, Head of Corporate Workforce Safety, Technical and Engineering at Network Rail  opened the conference as the keynote speaker. Bill with his engaging and thought provoking presentation reinforced the critical need for safety to be at the core of everything that takes place on the railway whilst placing emphasis on the importance of instilling best practice mindset and behaviour.  Bill is also Deputy Chairman of the Track Safety Alliance.




Bill Cooke, Head of Corporate Workforce Safety, Technical and Engineering at Network Rail (and also Deputy Chairman of the Track Safety Alliance) opened the conference with a keynote presentation on safety

This was followed by presentations from Mark Gaddes, UK/European R&D, Network Rail who talked around the importance of electrical safety prevention methods employed to keep operatives safe from moving trains, plant and machinery. Later on in the morning, Mark Davies, leading UK resilience coach and founder of 7 Futures continued the theme of behaviours and explained how mindset can make a positive difference to improving safety and provided an engaging and informative insight into the important role psychology, health and well-being plays. It was a fascinating seminar particularly listening to Mark’s interview with Craig White – one of world’s most respected high performance coaches who has over 24 years’ experience in premiership football, rugby league and most notably rugby union.

The afternoon session was kicked off by the very knowledgeable Robert Hopkin, Executive Director at the Rail Alliance who offered some very important hints and tips on how collaborative working standards can also bolster safety principles in the form of adopting best practice as a means of working.  This neatly led into a particularly topical subject was expertly addressed by Hollie Woodward, Head of EDI – Volker Rail who eloquently and clearly explained why diversity is so important for business and more specifically in terms of safety, about how equality, diversity and inclusion is important in day-to-day delivery by individuals through fairness, inclusion and respect.

Robert Hopkin, Executive Director at the Rail Alliance delivering his presentation on Collaborative Working Standards ISO44001

The conference was closed with the final session of the day by Pete Sutton, Midland Metro Alliance Safety and Paula Gray Midland Metro Head of Procurement with an outline of the exciting planned forthcoming project works and work winning opportunities of Midland Metro Alliance which went down very well with the attending delegates.

Knowledge is king to creating best practice in safety! Delegates attending the wide range of  briefings used the opportunity to improve and advance their knowledge of safety practices delivered by high quality organisations leading the way in safety and addressing the risks involved in working on the rail network. With many delegates keen to get the most out of attending safety briefings, this year for the first time, CPD accreditation was offered in the form of safety briefing “Intelligent Safety” delivered by Speedy featuring IOSH & PASMA Toolbox Talks, Hand-Arm Vibration (HAV) and Working at Height (WAH).  This was definitely seen as a positive move and something that will be rolled out across all of the briefings in 2019.

Mike Andrews, Principal Engineer at DWG Infraco Ltd attended SAFESTART for the first time this year and said, “I was particularly impressed with Speedy’s CAT scanning safety briefing. Many DWG projects require this work to be undertaken and the innovation linked to GPS plotting was of great interest and something that I would like to incorporate into DWG’s working practice going forward. I will definitely be attending SAFESTART 2019”

 Creating the optimum environment for networking and business with safety at the heart. The two exhibition halls were a hive of activity with some companies bringing in large pieces of equipment to demonstrate capability and commitment to safety. Richard York, Sales Manager at VP (TPA, Rapid rail Access), said, “This year has been the best yet.  More decision makers and high quality visitors than ever before – it’s been a great event for us and I would like to think we will be back next year.”

Another exhibitor, Paul Alexander, Rail Specialist, Hilti GB Ltd, “Safestart provides us with a prime opportunity to reinforce our core message and demonstrate to industry that Health & Safety is pivotal to everything we do. With over 65 new products launched to market each year, safety is as important as performance.”

Also in the exhibition halls, recruitment teams from leading companies in the rail sector where on hand to offer advice and guidance – another first for SAFESTART. NSAR (National Skills Academy for Rail) also supported SAFESTART this year too offering career options and supoort for apprenticeships. We welcomed the attendance of AECOM, J Murphy, Balfour Beatty, Balfour Kilpatrick, Coyles Personnel, Skanska, Barhale who all supported SAFESTART this year.

We were thrilled to award this year’s winning stand to Wrekin who had made a big effort to create an exhibition design that really captured the attention of both organisers and visitors with the level of detail and uniqueness of the overall design.



Congratulations to the winner of the best exhibition stand at Safestart – Wrekin

Light after Dark at SAFESTART18 “Light after Dark” featured at SAFESTART this year, giving exhibitors the opportunity to showcase the latest innovations designed to improve safety on the night-time railway (or working in dark conditions). There was wide range of exhibitors who were able to highlight products such as portable/mobile lighting, portable tools/equipment, lightweight materials, power/energy packs, site & track security, fatigue minimisation measures, wearable technology for maximum visibility, technology/management tools to track and monitor night time working, silent generators for minimising noise as well as products that help reduce light pollution, tunnel ventilation.



IVIC were one of 20 Light after Dark exhibitors who were able to show off products that make the railway safer to work on in the dark or at night



Rail Alliance at SAFESTART18. Eli Rees-King, Marketing Director at the Rail Alliance said, “Safety sits firmly in the hearts and minds of anyone working in the rail industry.  Being able to partner with SAFESTART to deliver a high quality event meant we were able to play our part to help share best practice and showcase the latest innovation in products and services that make the railways a safer environment to work in. We are already excited about plans for SAFESTART 2019.  It was also a great opportunity for our members to get involved too.”



Rail Alliance membersexhibiting at SAFESTART this year included Track Access, Gai-Tronics, ESS Safeforce, Anderton Concrete, Bratts Ladders, Inside Out, Hilti, Mabey, Aspin to name just a few. 



Rail Alliance members, Peter Baxter and Peter Scott from Hytorc Industrial Bolting Systems dropping by the stand to chat to Eli-Rees King Marketing Communications Director and George Bates, Branding & Visual Communications Co-ordinator at the Rail Alliance

Looking forward to 2019 and an even better SAFESTART yet again. James Steele, previously Head of Innovation (Infrastructure) at Carillion and brainchild of SAFESTART said, “SAFESTART first took place in 2014 and is designed to bring the rail industry together to deliver clear and consistent safety message to anyone working in or on the railway. With huge support form supply chain partners showcasing, offering and demonstrating the very latest innovations in plant, materials, products, and services, exhibitors are able to engage with the “boots on the ballast” to help them plan, design and execute the works in a much safer manner which enables them to go home safe every day!

That coupled together with industry key note speakers such as Bill Cooke from NWR, Mark Davies from 7 Futures we are able to improve cultures and behaviours right across each and every team. We are also able to offer free CPD accredited training courses during that day which tackle the key significant risks we face each and every day!

I am proud of the journey that SAFE START has taken since 2014 and hope that it continues for many more years to come in my personal fight to eradicate all worker injury! It is a huge passion of mine and hope that one day it will become a more integrated transport SAFETY and INNOVATION event.”

To find out more about SAFESTART19, please contact

Press Release 20th November 2018

Rail Alliance to Partner with Rail Safety Event – SAFESTART18

Industry membership organisation, Rail Alliance, is delighted to announce that it is partnering with Safe Start event, SAFESTART18, which takes place at Stoneleigh Park on Thursday 25 January 2018. 

The prime objective of SAFESTART is to deliver a clear and coherent safety message across the entire railway industry by providing a focused platform for the industry to get together and begin the year with safety at the forefront to undertaking work on the railway.

The Track Safety Alliance will play a pivotal role in shaping the safety forums in addition to delivering a presentation on safety in the industry.  There will be six separate forums (all free to attend) running during the day with morning and afternoon sessions, further details will be published on the website.

Eli Rees-King, Rail Alliance Marketing Communications Director said, “SAFESTART is something we are excited to be involved in and we are absolutely committed to working with the team to promote and reinforce best practice safety standards across the network.  As an organisation, particularly with our involvement in delivering Rail Live where safety is a central feature to everything that takes place over the two days of the show, we work closely with members and the wider industry to reinforce this crucial message of safety.”

James Steele, the brainchild behind SAFESTART18 further commented on the partnership saying, “It is an excellent opportunity for the industry to showcase and demonstrate their commitment to safety and find out more about best practice principles by attending the free safety forums, some of which will be CPD accredited, adding even further benefit to the delegates attending.”

Another exciting development is that Light after Dark 2018 will now feature as part of SAFESTART.  Eli Rees-King commenting on why Light after Dark has been taken into SAFESTART said, ” The decision to integrate this event into SAFESTART was a logical one because not only is it a larger event and will give exhibitors even greater exposure, companies will also have the opportunity to participate in an outdoor demonstration if they wish to”


SafeStart17 Time Lapse Video

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