The EPSF ensures that the regulatory framework is consistent, taking a coordinated approach to account for the interplay between national and European provisions.
This is particularly crucial at the present time, given that the European regulatory framework has been overhauled, with the relevant changes transposed into French law in 2019. The EPSF must therefore support the French Ministry of Transport in developing and adapting national regulatory texts.
It also examines certain rail system operating documents published by infrastructure managers and, in this context, is authorised to request the amendment or withdrawal of such documents, if necessary. In addition, it is responsible for developing and publishing technical documents, best practice guidelines, recommendations and railway safety guides.
To facilitate implementation of regulations by rail operators, the EPSF is responsible for promoting and disseminating the regulatory framework and any changes made to it. It provides all texts governing railway safety on its website and organises regular meetings and seminars to promote understanding of the regulatory landscape.
The european dimension
The context in which transport activities are performed in Europe is evolving rapidly. There is a need, first and foremost, to harmonise European regulations concerning safety and interoperability, a task entrusted by the European Commission to the European Union Agency for Railways. The EPSF’s role in this respect is to inform, coordinate and facilitate in order to foster the emergence of national positions. The EPSF helps to defend these positions at meetings or working groups led by the European Commission or the Agency.
The EPSF also maintains ongoing relationships with the other European national safety authorities sharing the same roles and responsibilities. In this context, bilateral agreements are put in place for various areas of activity, including joint inspections.
Thus, the EPSF conducts all of its activities as part of an integrated European rail safety system.