Rail Regulator underlines role of industry-agreed standards

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Compliance with “voluntary” Rail Industry Standards is proposed to become a condition of rail operators’ licences with the Office of Rail and Road.
An industry consultation is underway aiming to end potential confusion about how Rail Industry Standards should be applied.  Changes underline the requirement to apply relevant standards in individual companies’ safety management systems.

Rail Industry Standards (RISs) capture industry-agreed best practice in meeting a range of technical and functional requirements. Although RISs are not mandated by the state, their use can present the most effective way for a company to meet key legal, functional and contractual obligations.

However, some organisations have mistakenly assumed that, by virtue of not being mandated, they don’t need to apply RISs or any alternative equivalent approach to satisfy the law.

By adding the requirement to adopt relevant RISs – or a clearly acceptable alternative approach – in licence conditions, there will be more regulatory weight behind their use by infrastructure managers like Network Rail, and passenger and freight train operating companies.

RSSB’s Director of Standards, Tom Lee said, “This is a really positive step and follows a lot of hard work behind the scenes involving our teams and ORR.  In response to requests from the industry, it will hopefully remove uncertainty about the power and value of Rail Industry Standards as industry-backed agreed approaches which support a reliable, safe and efficient railway.”

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