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Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB)


At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) provided industry guidance about protecting staff and passengers from infection on the railway network. This was developed to protect passengers and staff from contracting COVID-19.

What was the problem?

By early 2021, RSSB was considering the extent to which it should go further and how it could respond more effectively and efficiently to any future public health crises. RSSB commissioned PHAST to evaluate current guidance and advise on any additional steps they could take.  

There were three key deliverables PHAST was asked to support with:

  1. Developing public health capacity and capability within RSSB, including developing a Pandemic Playbook and appraisal of options for RSSB public health expansion
  2. Implementation of the Pandemic Playbook
  3. Expansion of RSSB’s coronavirus transmission risk model.

How did PHAST help?

PHAST carried out the following work:

  • Review of literature about the public health role of public transport systems
  • Stakeholder interviews about public health requirements of RSSB
  • Identification of potential public health activities at RSSB
  • Specification of five options for developing public health capabilities at RSSB
  • Summary of mitigations recommended by current coronavirus transmission risk model and existing national/stakeholder guidance
  • Summary of communicable diseases of highest (predicted) epidemic potential
  • Summary of the mitigations transferrable to an expanded transmission risk model for RSSB
  • A workshop to introduce and provide training on the Pandemic Playbook and a table top exercise to validate it.

What was the impact?

RSSB promptly accepted all of the PHAST’s recommendations. They saw so much value in the work undertaken they appointed a substantive full time Public Health Manager.
The pandemic playbook which was acclaimed by industry partners, and was better prepared for future pandemics and its wider public health role.


For more information about our work or if you would like to speak to a member of the PHAST Team contact us.

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