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Safety Permit Insight

Have you ever wondered what is required for a train to be allowed to operate on a regular basis? The Safety Permit Insight guide is a three-part edition aimed at shedding light on the importance of acquiring a permit before the commencement of any railway operation. The guide also provides information on the different types of safety permits and information required.

According to Chapter 4, section 22 of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act No. 16 of 2002, “A person may not undertake any railway operation or a component of a railway operation without being in possession of an applicable safety permit.”

A safety permit is a licence issued in a form of a document to railway operators (users). The safety permit guide is issued to operators once in a financial year.

Any existing operators either have a 3-year or 5-year safety permit. If you are a class A or B operator, the safety permit is valid for three years, whereas for a class C operator, the safety permit is valid for five years. In the years following the initial issuing of the safety permit, operators are required to submit the Annual Safety Improvement Plan (ASIP). This is to ensure the operator’s commitment to continual safety improvement.

How are classes allocated?

Class A: Operators that move more than 500 000 tons of general freight or 50 000 tons of

dangerous goods per annum.

Class B: Operators that move between 200 000 and 500 000 tons of general freight or less than 50 000 tons of dangerous goods per annum or move tourists.

Class C: Operators that move less than 200 000 tons of general freight per annum.

Who should apply for a safety permit?

  1. Existing or currently active operators who want to renew their safety permit. They need to apply 90 days prior to the expiry of their existing safety permit.
  2. New operators i.e., a company that is planning to be involved in railway operations. This application should be submitted at least 90 days or three months prior to the planned commencement date.
  3. If a new line needs to be constructed first, a Construction Train Safety Permit must first be applied for followed by a Testing and Commissioning permit.
  4. Foreign organisations planning to operate on the railway within the borders of South Africa.

By: Louisa Moloisane

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