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Managing Safety

Safety is an uncompromising pre-requisite underlying all aspects of our business. Our senior management spearheads continuous improvement in safety performance by constantly reaffirming a safety-first culture. We pledge to deliver safe and reliable services and spread safety messages to the public, our staff, customers, contractors and anyone else who legitimately enters our facilities.

Corporate Safety Policy and Safety Governance

Our approach and objectives for safety management are clearly outlined in our Corporate Safety Policy and the Corporate Safety Governance Framework, which together ensure that safety is the duty and responsibility of everyone at MTR.

Safety Management System

Safety management systems are in place to meet our safety objectives throughout the design, construction and commissioning phases of individual development projects within and outside Hong Kong. Safety management systems are also applied for safety assurance and compliance in the operations of all our businesses. Regular audits are conducted to ensure effective implementation of these systems. For more information, please refer to our Corporate Safety Management Model – Audit and System Assurance below.

Corporate Strategic Safety Plan

To align our safety strategy with the latest global trends and best industry practices, we review and formulate a Corporate Strategic Safety Plan every four years. The Plan consists of objectives, categorised as Safety Aspirations, Safety Goals and Strategic Focus Areas, which guide us to effectively focus efforts towards the safety challenges faced by the Corporation and drive safety improvements across our businesses.

Corporate Strategic Safety Plan 2017-2020

Corporate Safety Management Model

Our Corporate Safety Management Model consists of eight core elements, providing an effective and robust system adaptable to business expansion and potential safety challenges across our operations. Each of the eight core elements consists of safety management processes and systems which help us effectively oversee and improve our safety performance.

Corporate Safety Management Model

Organisation and Management Accountability

The implementation of the Corporate Strategic Safety Plan and our overall safety performance is monitored by the Corporate Safety Management Committee (“CSMC”) which supports and advises the Executive Committee and the Board on the adequacy of safety management and risk control. CSMC also commissions reviews and audits to promote continual safety improvements.

Our Corporate Safety Management Structure

Asset Management

To ensure compliance and adequately identify and mitigate safety risks, we systematically manage and continuously improve our capital assets. Our Operations Division has been certified to ISO 55001 Asset Management System to meet our high standards of safety and services. The Division assesses operational safety impacts across all our operations and ensures that critical items (i.e. items that are either associated with high safety risks or may potentially lead to prolonged service interruptions) conform to our specifications on safety and service standards in line with the ISO 55001 requirements. We have been certified to ISO 45001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System for our Operations Division, Property Management Department, Capital Works business unit (the then Projects Division) and some of our overseas subsidiaries, which aims to improve employee safety, reduce workplace risks and create a safer working environment.

Competence Management

We have developed a competence management model to systematically review and determine the competence requirements of our people. The model facilitates our arrangements for the selection and placement of employees to ensure they are capable of managing risks and performing their duties safely. We also assess the competence of our contractors as part of the selection and review process.

To maximise employees' safety and service performance, our Human Factors Programme draws on behavioural patterns to ensure that the same action is regularly and correctly repeated under normal circumstances and our employees are able to respond quickly and correctly in emergency situations. In many areas of our operations, we adopt the “finger pointing procedure” to effectively reduce human errors where an employee points with their finger and states aloud the action to be taken.

Standards and Procedures

In addition to our Corporate Safety Policy, we have a list of safety documents stating management's commitment to safety at work and providing instructions for managing risks and working safely. These documents include safety rules, procedures, and work instructions. These are formulated as necessary, reviewed regularly and communicated to all employees to provide clear instructions for managing risks and workplace safety.

Risk Management

We proactively identify and register safety hazards, and assess and mitigate associated risks in a structured manner to a level that is as low as reasonably practical. As a company serving millions of customers every day, we work closely with the Government to monitor public health related issues and formulate emergency preparedness plans, such as the Corporate Infectious Disease Business Continuity Plan and the Corporate Crisis Management Plan, to ensure a swift response in case of public health issues. Risk management and control are regularly reviewed, adjusted and prioritised as needed.

We have established a Corporate Crisis Management Team (CMT) which comprises relevant members of the Executive Directorate and Executive Managers, in order to keep track of the latest crisis situation, plan strategic actions and disseminate crisis related information. Scenario-based desktop exercises are regularly conducted to provide CMT members with an opportunity to practise their strategic decision-making skills under a crisis situation. It is also to rehearse and validate the crisis management arrangements and capability of the Corporation for continuous improvement.

We also benchmark our performance against other transport operators and learn from others through participation in:

  • Joint Utilities Safety and Occupational Health Policy Group – A policy group to enhance consultation, liaison, and good practices sharing between the Government, Occupational Safety and Health Council (“OSHC”) and utility companies on safety and occupational health issues.
  • International Association of Public Transport (“UITP”) – A worldwide network which brings together all public transport stakeholders and all sustainable transport modes for knowledge exchange.
  • CoMET Benchmarking – A platform where metro operators around the world benchmark performance and share information through the Community of Metros (“CoMET”).

Audit and System Assurance

We have structured audit programmes in place to assure that our plans in the safety management systems are effectively implemented with the intended objectives and to identify opportunities for improvement. The robust system assurance process is applied where appropriate to ensure that safety risks are duly assessed and continue to be managed.

For over 20 years, our safety system assurance process has been implemented for the design, construction, and commissioning of our new rail lines with reference to international standards such as the European Standard EN50126. In particular, we integrate, verify and validate safety requirements through both top-down and bottom-up approaches including setting contract requirements, conducting safety integrity level assessments for safety-related and safety-critical systems and design as well as performing onsite verification and validation activities. We employ independent safety assessors to check the adequacy and effectiveness of the development processes of our safety critical systems in order to provide additional assurance.

The Corporation has also undertaken a transformation to build a structure for applying the Three Lines of Defence model for safety. The 1st Line of Defence (LoD) is the day-to-day line management supervision and checking at business unit level. The 2nd LoD is the checks and balances conducted for the Executive Committee by a Director independent of the first-line management. The 3rd LoD is to audit or conduct specific checking by Internal Audit on the 1st and 2nd LoD to provide assurance to the Chief Executive Officer or the Board that they are effective in discharging their defined roles.

Safety Culture

Safety leadership is central to the development and cultivation of a safety culture at MTR as well as the effective execution of our safety management plan. We create an ecosystem which facilitates the regular exchange of best safety practices and proactive reporting on safety hazards amongst our employees globally through various internal channels, platforms and portals. For example, the mobile application Anomaly • Alert • Action (AAA) iSPOTit developed by the Operations Division enables employees to instantly report anomalies and hazards in the rail operations to allow for timely responses.

In addition to the corporate safety messages and videos posted on our online portals, we have developed a safety sharing platform on our MTRconnects portal accessible by all our employees. To promote knowledge and experience sharing on safety management and good practices, we have also established the Safety Professionals' Community, a communication network across the Corporation covering subsidiaries and associates worldwide.

Stakeholder Management

We maintain open and ongoing communication on safety practices and performance with relevant stakeholders and actively engage them to:
  • enhance their understanding of corporate requirements on safety and performance through sharing of information, education, influence, and collaboration;
  • establish areas of cooperation and involvement by listening and understanding concerns,and responding to resolve concerns;
  • promote understanding and ownership of safety responsibilities; and
  • learn and improve through sharing lessons and knowledge.

We also closely monitor our site teams to make sure that they uphold the highest safety standards on all construction sites.

Customer Safety

Rail, Light Rail and Bus

We continuously identify new opportunities to enhance the safety features of our assets. This is paralleled by our community engagements to raise awareness of our customers and the general public on rail and road safety.

Suicide Prevention

To prevent unauthorised access to the rail tracks, we continue to install automatic platform gates (“APG”) at our stations. We have installed APG or Platform Screen Doors for all heavy rail lines except for East Rail Line, in which the APG will be installed as part of the Shatin to Central Link. In addition to the employment of the Suicide Prevention team and the Suicide Prevention roving team at critical stations, we collaborate with The Samaritan Befrienders to set up Emotional First Aid counters at selected East Rail Line stations to provide information related to emotional health.

Customer Education

To minimise safety risks to our customers, we employ various means to remind customers to be alert and avoid using mobile phones on escalators, stand clear of edges, and use a lift when travelling with prams and bulky luggage. Related safety messages are disseminated and communicated to passengers through our Safety Ambassadors in red uniforms at designated stations and our safety reminder announcements.

Road and Track Safety

Given that light rail vehicles run on tracks which are shared with other road users and cannot be totally partitioned, we minimise potential safety hazards by widening platforms, providing additional lighting at junctions within the MTR boundary, and placing zigzag barriers to guide pedestrians to watch for approaching traffic before crossing the tracks. Continuous efforts are also made to refresh drivers' safety awareness and educate the local community on safety around the MTR Light Rail and Bus system.

Emergency Situations

To strengthen our preparedness and further enhance communication and collaboration with relevant parties in response to emergency situations, we participate in major exercises with the emergency services involving different scenarios.

Safety Awareness in the Community

We regularly engage with community partners to raise safety awareness and promote safe and courteous behaviour while travelling with us. Safety tips when travelling on the rail network are disseminated to students and children through interactive plays at schools, the fun-filled "MTR Safety Experience Zone" at Tsing Yi Station and through the popular MTR Safety chessboard game. We also collaborated with community partners to engage the elderly on safety tips on the MTR.

Managed and Investment Properties

Our Property Division continues to identify and mitigate potential safety hazards in our properties and actively engages with customers, residents and tenants to build safety awareness in the community.

Some of our ongoing safety initiatives include:

  • Emergency drills at our residential estates and shopping malls;
  • Induction and refresher fire safety training sessions for our tenants to refresh their fire safety knowledge;
  • Publication of safety bulletins to disseminate safety messages to our residents and tenants;
  • Regular fire safety audits on our food and beverage tenants to ensure compliance and improve work practices to minimise fire hazards;
  • Inspection of all emergency escape routes in our properties to ensure that they are unobstructed and that fire doors are closed properly;
  • Checking electrical installations inside the shops of all our mall tenants to reduce the risks of electrical fires; and
  • Annual crisis drills for the Investment Property Department to validate current practices on crowd management and evacuation plans.

Staff and Contractor Safety

To raise staff and contractor safety awareness and manage work-related risks, we ensure high risk activities are identified with a proper method statement and risk assessment. We also seek out safety control measures to eliminate or minimise the risk before the commencement of works. Safety best practices are actively shared across MTR and reinforced with our contractors and subcontractors.

We continue to deepen the safety culture at MTR through structured training and knowledge sharing platforms. All managers at MTR are required to take a mandatory safety management training course, which aims at fostering a positive safety culture and safety leadership. All new joiners attend appropriate safety training based on the needs of individual divisions and roles. For the Operations Division in particular, all new joiners are required to take a "Safety-First Workshop" to highlight the importance of safety in railway operations through case studies and group discussions. Corporate Safety Month, our annual signature event, includes a series of activities such as online quizzes, site visits, forums and seminars, safety award and safety heroes scheme to refresh our employees and contractors on the safety-first principle and safety information.

Every year, we implement safety plans tailored to the latest safety topics in the industry to raise the safety awareness of our employees and contractors through various campaigns and communication initiatives. We also work closely with our contractors and joint venture partners to uphold the highest safety standards at all times. Please refer to Collaboration with Contractors for more information.