There are over two hundred and fifty suicides on the railway in Great Britain (GB) each year. Descriptive statistics are compiled, producing national and international data. The industry know how many and, to a limited extent, where these fatalities occur. There is little in-depth analysis of events. Therefore, there are gaps in knowledge of these fatalities and this is a weakness when considering the best approaches to prevention. This paper reports on the analysis of data on 257 suicide events at or near to 51 stations on three rail routes in Great Britain over a 20 year period. The analysis uses data from the industry Safety Management System (SMIS) database and produces simple descriptive statistics on a range of variables, including comparisons across the three rail routes. Additional data from staff and route based documentation have been used to verify, supplement and interpret information in the database. Examples of patterns of immediate and precursor behaviours during incidents have been presented, illustrating the potential to explore both common and anomalous behaviours during events. The findings demonstrate the type of content that can be explored within the industry data and through use of other data that are available within the industry. Commentary is provided on the strengths and weaknesses of the data and how findings from the analysis can be used to improve future data collection and prevention of incidents.
Ryan, B. (2017). What do we know about rail suicide incidents?: analysis of 257 fatalities on the rail network in Great Britain. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 231(10), https://doi.org/10.1177/0954409717701775