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Platform Safety and Train Dispatch Risk Assessment

The Platform Safety and Train Dispatch Risk Assessment (PSTDRA) can be used to determine the most suitable method(s) of train dispatch and a range of platform safety measures. These can be implemented to keep passengers safe when boarding and alighting trains and when waiting on the platform.

The PSTDRA covers four areas of risk that relate specifically to the Platform Train Interface (PTI):

  1. Trains arriving the platform
  2. Trains stopped at the platform and passengers are boarding and alighting
  3. Trains being dispatched and departing the platform
  4. At all other times when passengers are on the platform

There are numerous reasons why the assessment covers these four areas. First, passengers are exposed to different types of harm when a train is in the platform compared to when there is no train stopped at the platform.  When a train is in the platform the most common type of incident are slips, trips and falls, these are categorised as high likelihood but low severity events. When there is no train stopped in the platform or when trains are passing through the platform events with low likelihood, high severity are more common, such as being struck by a train.

Second, the assessment covers these four areas because when added together low severity, high likelihood events and low likelihood, high severity events roughly equal the same level of harm to passengers. This means that a train in the platform presents the same level of risk compared to when there is no train stopped in the platform.

The final reason these four areas are covered by the assessment is to focus attention equally on train dispatch and platform safety measures. At best, train dispatch can only help to control passenger risk when there is a train in the platform (approximately half the PTI risk). Platform safety measures are needed to help control risk when there is no train present and support the safe dispatch of trains.

When is an assessment required?

A PSTDRA is required for each platform because the likelihood and severity of hazardous events can vary from platform to platform. The risk assessment helps determine factors that affect the likelihood and potential severity of these events and specific risk controls than can be implemented for each platform. PSTDRA will also help to determine risks that are generic across platforms, stations and routes and the types of controls that can be implemented across these. 

Completing the risk assessment 

There are seven steps to complete a PSTDRA:

  1. Plan your assessments. As an assessment is required for each platform, it is important to plan and prioritise the order of your assessments. A combination of factors can be considered to determine prioritisation. These are listed in section 2.1 in RIS-3703-TOM.
  1. Determine scope of the assessment. To better understand the four risk areas described above, the PSTDRA explores five influencing factors:
    • Design and operation of the station
    • Design and layout of the platform, including platform-based equipment
    • Passenger and staff behaviour
    • Rolling stock characteristics stopping or passing through the station
    • Operational and environment factors, such as dwell time and weather

    Detailed descriptions of these factors are provided in Appendix B of RIS-3703-TOM, with guidance provided in section 2.2. The assessment should be made appropriate for each platform being assessed.

  1. Identify who should be involved. Involving different people in the risk assessment can help to identify risks that may otherwise be missed. For example, gate line staff may have a different view of the platform risks than the dispatch staff.
  2. Before completing the assessment it’s important to identify the people who are able and competent to contribute to the risk assessment. Further guidance on collaboration is provided in section 2.3 of RIS-3703-TOM.

  1. Complete assessment and use results. The risk assessment should inform train dispatch methods and platform safety measures so that they are proportionate to the risks identified for each platform. This means the assessment does not sit on the shelf but instead is used to reduce risks to levels deemed reasonably practicable. Guidance on using results is provided in section 2.4 of RIS-3703-TOM.
  1. Record assessment results. The assessment process, decisions made and the reasons for the risk control measures being implemented can be documented and referred to in future assessments. Guidance on recording is provided in section 2.5 of RIS-3703-TOM.
  1. Monitor implemented controls. Monitoring helps to determine the extent to which implemented processes have been effective. This helps to measure the success of the implementations and manage the safety of passengers as planned. That is, the changes are helping to reduce the likelihood and severity of hazardous events, so far as is reasonably practicable. This can also help determine if processes and measures:
    • can be and are being implemented by staff
    • introduce new risks that need to be assessed and controlled
    • highlight common risks across platforms and stations that need to be addressed 

    Guidance on monitoring is provided in section 2.6 of RIS-3703-TOM.

  1. Review risk assessment. Risks change over time and so the risk assessment should be reviewed to determine if current controls are still valid or if enhancements are needed. Many things can initiate a review; examples are provided in section 2.7 of RIS-3703-TOM along with guidance for review.

    The Taking Safe Decisions framework guides also provides a process for monitoring safety and implementing changes.

Requirements and guidance for this assessment are provided in the Rail Industry Standard Passenger Train Dispatch and Platform Safety Measures (RIS-3703-TOM). RSSB has also developed an electronic risk assessment tool which you can use to compete PSTDRA.

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