Safety, Standards & Regulation

RISSB in 2020: Reflecting on the last 12 months


The past year has seen RISSB enhance its role as industry’s partner in co-regulation.

Working hand in hand with industry, the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) has expanded its range of Standards, Codes of Practice, Guidelines, and Rules for the rail industry in Australia and New Zealand, and has added more technical documents to its library of more than 200 publications with the recent addition of AS 7651 – Axle Counters, AS 7658 – Level crossings – rail industry requirements and AS 7664 – Railway signalling cable routes, cable pits, and foundations. This year, most importantly, the National Rules were published, a first step in developing national rules for the rail industry.

During 2020, we reviewed the way we develop our work plan, engaging with CEOs and senior executives as well as technical leaders in the industry to incorporate both business and technical priorities. Consequently, RISSB’s work plan now includes a range of major projects, identified by industry as critical to rail safety, including track worker safety and train control interoperability. Engagement in the development of publications also improved, resulting in broader industry representation on Development Groups. RISSB is also playing a lead role in the planning and implementation of activities involving harmonisation and interoperability in the National Rail Action Plan.

In 2020, RISSB commenced development of its first ever light rail Standard and we are working on other products tailor-made for the light rail sector.

RISSB’s national recognition and reputation is growing. As previously reported in Rail Express, we know industry is using RISSB products more than ever. Our 2020 Take Up Survey showed extensive industry use of both products and services with more than 90 per cent of survey respondents saying that they use RISSB products (Standards, Codes of Practice, Guidelines, and Rules) and services (conferences, forums, training, and programs) in some way.

Industry demand has led to RISSB’s training programs being expanded with new courses being developed that will be made available through face-to-face delivery, online or a combination of both.

The new MasterClass webinar series commenced in April 2020 and has proved to be very popular with nearly 5,000 people watching the first suite of presentations. Based on its initial success, RISSB will continue to offer webinars in the new year beginning in February 2021. Podcasts have been added to our digital offer, with our new RISSB Conversations podcast series launched in November.

With a bold new two-day virtual format, RISSB’s Rail Safety Conference broke previous attendance records attracting nearly 250 people to its twentieth event. During the conference we launched our Occupational Work Health and Safety Survey which we will make available to industry in the coming months.

RISSB has extended its membership benefits at the same time as reducing its fees and in 2019/20, our membership grew by 35 per cent, our largest one-year growth ever.

RISSB continues to explore options for broader industry involvement in fulfilling roles and responsibilities in the rail industry. At the same time, we are continually introducing new initiatives based on industry needs and feedback we have, and will, continue to receive.

Recently, we launched our Priority Planning Process inviting anyone with an interest in the rail industry to submit an idea for a new publication or project by December 11, 2020. We also invited applications for Horizons Program 3.0 – our flagship engagement program for young professionals aged 35 years and under.

RISSB continues to enhance its value to industry and is committed to working with the broader rail community to make our industry safer, more efficient and to provide the support the rail industry needs going forward.