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MTR is a world leader in safety performance. We are proud to provide our customers with the safest public transportation option in every city where we operate. With 35 years of continuous attention by management, our uncompromising Safety First culture — encompassing care for customers, staff, contractors and anyone else who legitimately enters our facilities — has become deeply ingrained in our corporate DNA.

Providing passengers with a safe and reliable service is the bedrock of our operations; strong performance in this aspect of our business allows us to leverage our expertise and reputation into new areas of growth. We are responding to challenges in order to continue to prioritise safety in our operations:

  • Public and regulator interest in safety performance remains as high as ever. Listening and responding to stakeholders’ concerns pushes us to innovate and find solutions.
  • Carrying more passengers has resulted in our network operating near capacity more often and leaves our frontline staff and maintenance teams with less room for error.
  • Hong Kong’s demographics are changing so we must adapt to the changing needs of our customers, including elderly passengers and visitors to Hong Kong who are not familiar with our network.
  • The profile of our workforce is evolving and workers on construction sites are particularly affected. We must ensure that valuable skills are developed and retained within our workforce and continually transferred to new joiners.

Management Approach


Safety Policy and Strategy

The Corporate Safety Policy and the Corporate Safety Strategy outline our approach and objectives for safety management. Our Corporate Safety Management Committee (CSMC) structure ensures that safety management is the responsibility of every director, manager and supervisor. To support implementation of this policy and strategy, the Corporate Strategic Safety Plan 2013–2016 includes three strategic approaches: fostering a Safety First culture, driving continuous improvement and engaging stakeholders.

Corporate Safety Management Structure

Safety Management Model

The Corporate Safety Management Model is comprised of eight core elements for implementing our management approach to safety. Fit-for-purpose safety management processes for each of the eight core elements have been established to manage safety performance across our businesses.

Crisis Management Plan

In accordance with this plan, the Crisis Management Team is comprised of members of the Executive Directorate, Executive Managers and support personnel. The Executive Committee oversees the status and implementation of major corporate contingency plans, regular safety drills and safety exercises for all areas of our business.

Public Health & Hygiene Policy

Our Public Health & Hygiene Policy underlines our commitment to safeguarding the health of customers, the public, contractors, and employees by providing a clean, healthy and hygienic environment.

Corporate Infectious Disease Continuity Plan

We work closely with the Government to monitor public health-related issues and concerns. This plan outlines our response to public outbreaks of serious infectious diseases and includes our approach to business continuity in the event of a pandemic.


Safety Values

As a multinational company, we insist that all of our Hong Kong based operations as well as our subsidiaries and associates located outside Hong Kong share the same set of safety values (ALERT):

Absolute Pre-requisite

Keeping Safety First in our hearts and minds and in everything that we do.

Learning and Sharing

Sharing lessons learned and knowledge across our businesses. Learning from other railways and industries to seek continuous improvement.

Excellent Performance

Always being committed to improving safety performance and not being complacent. Setting high safety standards and, as a minimum, meeting or exceeding statutory requirements.

Responsible Citizen

Being a responsible corporate citizen caring for the safety of stakeholders. Listening and responding to safety needs of communities and stakeholders.

Total Commitment and Ownership

Safety is everyone’s responsibility and must be ingrained in our DNA. Safety management is the responsibility of each director, manager and supervisor.

ALARP Principle

We apply the “As Low As Reasonably Practicable” (ALARP) principle to the management of risks relating to the safety and well-being of customers, staff and other stakeholders. This stringent approach to risk management also contributes to maintaining high standards of train service performance.


Safety Leadership Training

A mandatory corporate safety management training course was launched in 2013 to ensure that all of our managers are familiar with the Corporate Strategic Safety Plan, understand their safety management responsibilities and develop skills for safety leadership.

Safety Targets and Monitoring

We set targets for the safety of passengers, staff and contractors and monitor our safety performance against these targets regularly throughout the year. The annual review of safety targets is based on a systematic approach that takes into account actual performance, new safety challenges and safety improvement initiatives. Since the three types of transport that we provide — Heavy Rail, Light Rail and Bus — have different operating environments and have adopted different types of safety controls and protection measures, safety targets for each type of transport are not directly comparable.

Learning and Sharing

As a learning organisation, we encourage information sharing and adoption of best safety practices among our own staff and among metro systems worldwide through a variety of channels:


Safety Learning and Sharing Channels

iSPOTit - A safety reporting scheme implemented by the Operations Division that utilises a mobile app to enable staff to report hazards and near misses so that appropriate and timely action can be taken.

SIMS Mobile - A mobile app utilised by the Projects Division to provide senior management with accident and incident information and statistics from railway construction projects.

Projects Safety - A mobile app utilised by the Projects Division that allows frontline staff to view safety alerts, receive safety information and learn important lessons from accidents and experiences that are reported by their colleagues.

SafePedia - An intranet portal for Hong Kong based staff to share safety-related knowledge across divisions.

mtrconnects - An online portal with a dedicated safety section to share safety management best practices, knowledge and experiences with employees of subsidiaries and associates outside of Hong Kong. It includes a Monthly Safety Briefing Notes section from the Operations Division as well as a catalogue of international railway incidents and lessons learned.

m-tube - An online portal to upload videos demonstrating important skills and competencies. The videos are used by trainees in the Operations Division as a complement to more traditional training materials.

iShare - An online portal for sharing safety and other information with contractors.

Internal Benchmarking - To facilitate learning and sharing between business units in Hong Kong and those in the Mainland of China and overseas, safety topics are identified for international benchmarking with the objective of promoting continuous improvement in safety management and performance.

CoMET Benchmarking - We participate in safety performance benchmarking and information sharing with metro operators around the world through the Community of Metros.


External Safety Management System Review

During 2014, an international review team of railway safety experts conducted the 8th External Safety Management System Review for the Operations Division. These reviews, which are required under the terms of our Operating Agreement, take place every three years. This year, the review team was led by the American Public Transportation Association and included representatives from the UK Office of Rail Regulation and Transport for London.

The main finding of the Review is that our safety management system is excellent and that the resources committed to making our Hong Kong transport operations safe and secure are exceptional. Although the team identified 29 industry-leading practices, it also highlighted several areas for improvement. We have resolved to address these areas in order to continue improving our overall safety management in future.

Human Factors

Good safety performance is contingent upon peoples’ behaviours in various situations. Understanding behaviour patterns in emergencies as well as repetitive actions in or around a specific work environment can be a crucial factor in reducing safety incidents. Our Human Factors Programme makes use of information about human behaviour to facilitate safe, comfortable and effective work practices. It is designed to maximise staff performance, whether under normal circumstances where the same action is repeated many times, or in emergency situations when staff must respond quickly and correctly to an unexpected situation.


Weary World Cup fans get a boost

Although many football fans among our staff and contractors were overjoyed by the arrival of the World Cup in Brazil during June and July 2014, they also faced a daunting challenge. As Brazil is halfway across the globe from Hong Kong, watching the games meant staying up late into the night and risking the consequences of fatigue at work the following day.

Our response to this situation is a good example of Human Factors Integration at work. The World Cup Fatigue Management Campaign, which was jointly organised by the Safety & Quality Department and the Human Factor Management Committee, featured a series of specially designed promotional banners, posters and a video. Innovative fatigue management cue cards were also distributed to reinforce safety awareness among our operations staff and contractors.


Construction Site Safety

Close monitoring by our site teams maintains a high standard of safety on all construction sites. We have a number of schemes in place to promote safety of workers, including quarterly safety conferences for contractors and major safety promotion activities during our annual Safety Week.

For more information, please refer to contractor safety in context, contractor safety initiatives and collaboration with our contractors.

Property Development Contractors

Under our Safety Incentive Scheme, the Property Division conducts a formal assessment of its development contractors every three months and rewards them with a bonus for good safety management and performance. The assessment is based on standardised performance indicators and an evaluation of how effectively the contractors are implementing safety-at-work guidelines established by the Occupational Health and Safety Council.

Under our Safety Hero Award Scheme, we give cash prizes to workers who demonstrate exemplary safety behaviour. The award encourages workers to set a good example for their colleagues by reporting safety incidents, including near-miss cases, and participating proactively in safety training and briefing sessions.

Projects Division Contractors

All contractors working on our network expansion projects are audited, rated and rewarded for best safety practices. Our Safety and Environmental Improvement Incentive Scheme rewards contractors on our network expansion projects who put in extra effort to achieve stringent safety and environmental criteria.

The Projects Division also engages directly with construction workers through training, highly visible multilingual workplace campaigns, mentoring and a variety of communications initiatives.


Projects Division Safety Campaigns

Mobile Incidents Command Centre - A centre in Tsim Sha Tsui East with live feeds to all project sites, and staff who can travel to any project site at short notice enabling a rapid and coordinated response to serious incidents.


iPromise - A campaign built around the theme of Your Family Needs You, reminding workers to take responsibility for safety because it’s important to their family members.

Zero Excuse - A campaign to promote the use of impact resistant gloves to reduce work-related injuries to hands and fingers.

Heat Stress Prevention - A campaign that is mobilised during summer months to ensure workers are provided with sun shelters, electrolyte drinks and regular breaks.

Don't Walk By! - A campaign to encourage all workers to report unsafe working conditions to their supervisors or managers immediately.

Safety Starts with Me - A campaign to remind all workers to take responsibility for their own safety and others.

Near-Miss Reporting - A campaign to share information about incidents that could have resulted in injury so that contractors can learn from one another’s experiences.

Life Insurance - We provide additional life insurance coverage of HK$200,000 for all our contractors’ site workers and supervisors, covering natural and accidental causes of death.


Did You Know?


The Rolling Stock Maintenance Department at Chai Wan Depot has achieved 16 consecutive years without an accident. Staff members have achieved this remarkable track record despite growing risk factors that could lead to accidents, such as increasing numbers of new recruits. The team at Chai Wan depot has provided support and training to many newcomers in preparation for the opening of the Island Line Extension to Western District.