Health and Wellbeing Index wins key occupational health award

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RSSB’s Health and Wellbeing Index (HWI) won the Best Multidisciplinary Initiative at the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Plus Awards this week.

Created by health economists with rail body RSSB, the index allows organisations to calculate the impact of health and wellbeing risks to employees, and compare health-based investment choices and decisions. 

Health and wellbeing related risks put pressure on the wellbeing of employees as well the organisation’s ability to operate. The HWI works in a similar way to the better-known FWI (Fatalities and Weighted Injuries) measure used in safety analysis and decision making. By using the HWI, companies can get an objective assessment and see more clearly how health compares to other safety considerations and competing calls on budget. 

Launched in September, the award-winning HWI has been piloted with Network Rail, VolkerRail, occupational health teams at two train operators and a large construction company. More companies are signing up to use the HWI all the time. 

Collaboration has been a key feature of the award-winning work. It was sponsored by the cross-industry Rail Wellbeing Alliance, which addresses the health and wellbeing challenges set out in the industry’s shared strategy: Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railways. The HWI work has also involved Department for Transport, Health and Safety Executive, the Office of Rail and Road and Leeds University’s Institute for Transport Studies. 

The award means the HWI has won recognition from peers in occupational health and could lead to even more take-up by rail companies. Judges described the initiative as “much needed”, adding, “the creation of the index illustrates how, by working together, the rail industry has brought a new focus to health and wellbeing, one that, I am sure, will bring considerable long-term dividends.”

Editors’ Notes

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Companies interested in using the HWI should contact RSSB at for more information. 

About the Health and Wellbeing Index

The HWI is available exclusively to RSSB members and funders – support is available via RSSB’s customer portal 

In September, rail leaders welcomed the tool: 

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

“This is a first. With the HWI, the rail industry is leading the way with this kind of approach. There has been no other known successful attempt to build a composite metric to measure health and wellbeing, least of all one that has the potential be used to directly compare health and safety. I commend it to our members, it could offer a double win of improved quality of life, a healthier and happier workforce, and all while reducing unnecessary costs.” 

Martin Frobisher, Group Director Safety, Technical and Engineering, Network Rail, and RSSB Board Member said: 

“Network Rail is delighted with the Health and Wellbeing Index initiative. It is an excellent piece of work and has really helped us to understand and prioritise health and wellbeing issues. We are now routinely using the index for our executive safety reviews, and it is helping us prioritise improvements in a more effective and targeted way. I would thoroughly recommend that other businesses adopt this measure.” 

Stuart Webster-Spriggs, HSQES Director, VolkerRail Group said: 

“This is a ground-breaking piece of work which will really tackle the issues of reporting, measuring and benchmarking health and wellbeing metrics and determine ‘what good looks like’ in the rail sector.”

About RSSB

RSSB provides research, analysis, and insight to help the industry work together to deliver 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. Our work involves partnerships with academia and other railways across the world. 

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