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The IRSC provides a forum for an in-depth exchange of experience and lessons for improving rail safety and is exclusively devoted to rail safety issues. Participants are senior people with responsibility in rail safety management and mostly include industry representatives, safety regulators, investigation agencies and rail unions. The first Conference was held in 1990, as a result of a joint Japan Rail East union and management initiative. They had been discussing safety issues related to their company and decided to look for new perspectives on safety from overseas experts. Delegates to the conferences are typically expected to offer to present papers, or, failing that, to chair one of the sessions. They are also expected to participate in the question and answer sessions, which are very interesting in their own right. The diverse mix of experts who attend results in many thought provoking and challenging ideas, as well as an in-depth understanding of a range of problems, which are useful reference tools for any of the participants. Regular attendees at the IRSC benefit by developing strong working networks that give the added advantage when safety issues arise and advice or guidance is required. The IRSC therefore makes a very important contribution to the ongoing improvement of rail safety management and performance around the world.

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