A NEW business strategy published by RSSB (previously the Rail Safety and Standards Board) has been met by stinging criticism from the RMT union.
The plan for the coming year sets out RSSB’s intentions to reduce risk by ‘promoting operational understanding, learning and decision making’, a new mental health programme and ‘fatigue knowledge hub’ to improve the health and wellbeing of rail staff, action on improving air quality, social value and carbon emissions, new standards and systems to support the effective management of signalling and electrical systems as well as the design of rolling stock depots and platforms, and ’building relationships across the industry and making RSSB more responsive and efficient’.
The RSSB also says it will continue to prepare the industry for the future, by taking the effects of Brexit into account and ‘developing an approach’ for big data.
Chief executive Mark Phillips said: “Our new Business Plan sets out a step change in our engagement with industry as we build into the crucial CP6 period from 2019. We are pleased to be developing our work promoting health and wellbeing, sustainability and efficiency in response to industry demand, in addition to continuing to lead safety risk reduction and to address future challenges such as Brexit and big data.
“I would like to thank our members for their engagement in developing this plan and helping us identify the strategic priorities for RSSB.”
However, RMT general secretary Mick Cash responded: “Once again the RSSB peddle the myth of their role as an independent safety organisation.
“The RSSB is financed by their members and associates from Network Rail. There is nothing independent in the way they operate – they are sucking finances from the rail industry to deliver answers that the employers desire to suit their own agendas and which maximise profit for their shareholders by watering down safety procedures and standards.
“The current RSSB is as far away from Lord Cullen’s idea of a railway safety organisation independent of the industry as it could possibly be. RSSB and the ORR are now merely a mouthpiece of the Government cheerleaders the Rail Delivery Group – all jamming their noses in the corporate trough and supporting a safety programme that suits the speculators and not the passengers or railway workers.”