ORR concludes review of RSSB, and recommends changes to help industry achieve excellence in health and safety management

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The role of RSSB should be adapted so it can better facilitate excellence in health and safety management across the entire rail industry, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) has concluded following a review of the railway industry’s standards body.

The report of ORR’s review acknowledges the good work RSSB has carried out to help improve the industry’s health and safety risk management.

The regulator has made a series of recommendations including: reviewing the structure of RSSB’s board, changing the way that research is commissioned and used by duty holders, and reducing delays and unnecessary compromise in the management of the railway group standards.

The review of RSSB’s role, funding and governance was carried out against the backdrop of significant changes in the industry, particularly the current economic climate which drives across the entire railway sector to deliver further improvement in efficiency for passengers and taxpayers.

Commenting on the review, Ian Prosser ORR’s director of railway safety said: “Since 2003, RSSB has played a key role in helping to make significant improvements to health and safety in the rail industry. We want to help RSSB prepare to meet the challenges ahead so that it can go on supporting the industry.

“It’s important that RSSB continues to be efficient and effective, which is why we have recommended some changes to how it works, based on our industry consultation.

“We believe the changes suggested will offer improved value for money for funders and taxpayers, as well as improving RSSB’s own focus, efficiency and effectiveness. RSSB’s key role should be to help the whole rail sector achieve excellence in health and safety management while driving out unnecessary costs, and improving business performance.

“We expect that RSSB, and its members, will embrace the challenge and opportunity of helping the industry to achieve excellence in health and safety management and risk control.”

ORR’s report published today recommends that RSSB should:

  • adopt a new objective of helping the industry to achieve excellence in health and safety management and risk control;
  • take a more strategic approach to the planning, commissioning and use of its research;
  • make its board’s governance arrangements more efficient and effective,
  • make its governance committees more strategically focused; and
  • allow relevant organisations outside the mainline railway industry to become members.

ORR has asked RSSB’s board to consider the report’s recommendations and respond by the middle of October 2010.



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