Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) was established in April 2003. RSSB provides support and facilitation for a wide range of activities usually achieved through cross-industry working groups and committees.
It is a not-for-profit company owned by major industry stakeholders, including train operators, Network Rail, and major infrastructure contractors. The company is limited by guarantee and is governed by its members and a board. It is independent of any single railway company and of their commercial interests.
The company has a range of competencies, tools, models and capabilities that support the industry in different ways.
The company’s main roles were originally defined by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), to:
- Manage Railway Group Standards on behalf of the industry;
- Lead the development of long-term safety strategy for the industry, including the publication of annual Railway Strategic Safety Plans;
- Facilitate change by leading a research programme and providing education, awareness materials and events;
- Support cross-industry groups working on national programmes addressing major areas of safety concern; and
- Facilitate the effective representation of the UK rail industry in the development of European legislation and standards that impact on the rail system.
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The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) is an independent not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, which was established in 2003, upon the recommendation of the public inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove rail crash. It is owned by rail industry stakeholders, including Network Rail, infrastructure managers, train operating companies and rolling stock companies.
According to its own website "The Company’s primary objective is to facilitate the railway industry’s work to achieve continuous improvement in the health and safety performance of the railways in Great Britain, and thus to facilitate the reduction of risk to passengers, employees and the affected public."
In this regard, it is intended to lead the other bodies associated with the Great Britain rail network:
- The Office of Rail and Road – regulatory body
- Network Rail – owner and maintainer of rail infrastructure
- The Rail Delivery Group – operators of services on the network
(there is also National Rail which is the public face of the rail network).
It is responsible for the publication and updating of the British Railway Rule Book, which defines technical standards and operating procedures. The RSSB promotes the Trackoff programme promoting rail safety within schools, and the Sustainable Rail Programme which has been established to support the rail industry in reaching its full potential for a sustainable transport system.
In conjunction with UIC, RSSB provides SPARK, a web tool for the rail industry to share information and help drive innovation.