Safety reminders as rail gets busier again
With the easing of restrictions, the timetable uplift and the scheduled May timetable change, it is reasonable to expect more people back on trains by the summer.
More trains and more people travelling can re-introduce risks that staff are well-qualified to deal with, but may not have experienced for some time.
RSSB’s ‘Stepping up SPAD focus’ posters and guidance are being shared with operators as drivers may start encountering more cautionary or red signals.
The guidance highlights some of the potential risks to a driver’s performance. This can include managing distractions and the effects of anxiety on performance and skills fade.
This industry risk was identified by the SPAD Risk Sub-Group which created the content to support rail return to normal services.
Trevor Parkin, Chair of the SPAD Risk Sub-Group and Head of Operations Standards at East Midland Railway said:
“It’s fair to say that over the past year or so our railway has been very different and a lot quieter. This has brought many downsides to the industry but a general positive throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic has been the reduction in operational safety incidents, such as SPADs, station stopping incidents and dispatch errors, plus many others.
“Coming out of the pandemic over the next few months will be fantastic for all of us but it will also see a return to normal service levels and a more intensive railway. This will likely pose a number of risks for drivers on all parts of the network. As Chair of the SPAD Risk Sub Group myself and the team have been working with RSSB to put together a short piece of guidance and some associated posters to help drivers recognise risk areas as services get busier, for many incident types, not just SPADs.”
Dr. Philippa Murphy, LHSBR Train Operations Lead at RSSB said:
“It’s obviously fantastic that we have the prospect of people being free to do more and use the trains again soon. The challenge is to make sure that critical staff are risk-aware and stay focussed during this transition. Humans are creatures of habit, and things are about to change and so our guidance and posters can hopefully raise awareness of potential risks and strategies to help manage these.”
The initiative forms part of the work RSSB does to support rail collaborate through the Leading Health and Safety on Britain’s Railway (LHSBR) strategy. Philippa Murphy is the Strategy Implementation Manager LHSBR for Train Operations at RSSB.