Covid-19 heightens the need for a step change in rail safety and health

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The rail sector needs to remain focussed on long term improvements to safety, health and wellbeing despite the Covid-19 pandemic, says rail body RSSB.

Under the strapline, Safer Together, Healthier Together, the industry wants to spread the word about the good work underway to support the Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway strategy. 

Rail safety leaders believe that far from providing a distraction, the Covid-19 pandemic should motivate more collaboration and focus on these issues. Rail needs to remain on hand and up to full strength for passenger and freight customers alike. This will require organisations to stay on top of the issues and have access to the right data, research and good practice. 

The impact of the pandemic features highly in the latest Quarterly Progress Report published this week. Alongside Covid-19, the report reflects on the tragic accident at Carmont, where three people were killed. Being the first derailment to cause loss of life to workforce or passengers since Grayrigg in 2007, it highlighted the need to learn from the investigation so that we can improve our positive safety record even further. 

The benefits of collaborating across company boundaries are still not being fully exploited, according to rail body RSSB, who are leading the effort to motivate and empower cross-industry groups across 12 safety and health risk areas.

Ali Chegini, RSSB’s Director of System Safety and Health said: 

Britain's railway system was already under pressure before Covid-19, but this year the virus has brought new challenges to our members.  Now more than ever it’s vital that organisations exploit the benefits of collaboration and become healthier and safer together.

‘The safety of our railways and the health of our workforce will not be compromised, and focussing on the right risks and the right interventions, will pay dividends in terms of benefits to performance and cost in the medium and long term.’

‘The risk groups we run have adapted brilliantly during Covid-19, and there’s a real buzz in the various virtual meetings and calls to get the railways through the pandemic and to the next level.'

More information

If you want to interview one of our experts about safety or have further questions, please contact us at or telephone 020 3142 5653.

Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway

Quarterly Progress Report (September 2020) for Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway

About RSSB

RSSB brings industry together to deliver expertise, solve complex issues and provide the headspace for collaboration, all leading to a better, safer railway.

As a membership-based rail industry body, RSSB includes train and freight operating companies, infrastructure managers, contractors, rolling stock leasing companies and suppliers, and our work involves partnerships and affiliation with academia, government, and many other railways and organisations across the world.

We provide impartial, risk-based analysis and insights to continually improve health, safety and performance. We develop standards, setting engineering and operational requirements for safe interworking and to increase efficiency. We also undertake research and development to enable industry to generate knowledge, technologies and operational solutions that individual players in the rail system could not pursue in isolation.

Together we form an industry support network, so that we all benefit from better safety, sustainability and service, and reduced cost and risk.

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