UK: RSSB Published Refreshed Rail Health and Safety Strategy

The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) has unveiled an updated Rail Health and Safety Strategy for the UK.

This publication aims to ensure the continued safety and well-being of passengers and employees within Britain’s railway network.

Today’s railway is facing significant challenges in cost, performance and reliability
Today’s railway is facing significant challenges in cost, performance and reliability

Britain’s railway is among the safest in the world, but it is faced with ongoing challenges in the industry. A concerted effort is thus required to address shared risks and maintain safety standards.

The new strategy, spanning from 2024 to 2029, aims to tackle these challenges, with a vision of establishing the world’s healthiest, safest and most affordable railway system.

Mark Phillips, Chief Executive, RSSB, said:

“Britain’s rail industry is a vital part of the economy and society. It provides essential transport services for people and goods. It has a strong track record of improving safety and health performance, but there is no room for complacency. The industry faces several challenges including cost and reliability. Passenger demand patterns have changed, and ticket revenue is still lower overall than in 2019. The system needs to be more agile to attract more freight onto rail. And we need to prepare for a changing climate.

“These challenges require a proactive and collaborative approach to managing safety and health risks for a safe, reliable, and sustainable rail system. It requires a strong commitment from all the parties involved, and a continuous monitoring and evaluation of the progress and impact of the actions and initiatives. By implementing this strategy, the rail industry will demonstrate its leadership and excellence in safety and health management and will contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the UK.”

The strategy has been developed through industry-led initiatives such as the System Safety Risk Group and the Rail Wellbeing Alliance and is overseen by the Rail Industry Health and Safety Executive Advisory Group.

Key focuses of the strategy include:

  • Making rail more attractive by improving performance and accessibility
  • Enhanced safety management with more effective ways to manage existing and emerging safety risks
  • Prioritising workforce wellbeing by ensuring staff are safe and healthy, so more people want to work in rail
Ellie Burrows, Regional Managing Director, Network Rail, and Chair, System Safety Risk Group, RSSB said:

“This strategy comes at a vitally important time for the rail industry. Taking an industry wide assessment of key risks, it was developed through extensive industry consultation. It identifies the opportunities that offer the greatest benefit and value from working in collaboration, and sharing good quality data and best practice across the sector. It really is a vision created by the whole industry for the benefit of us all.”

The newly published strategy can be viewed here.

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