March 2010 in Freight Operations
A reporter seeks reassurance that staff working at Margam depot will receive full training for the shunting and examining tasks they will be expected to carry out in the coming months. The workforce at Margam depot is currently being downsized, and a new engineering grade is being created. The reporter believes the training currently under discussion is likely to fall short in achieving its objective of producing competent personnel. This report is being raised through CIRAS because staff are uncomfortable raising it internally in the current business climate.
Staff on the freight side will now have to work in bays at Corus steelworks close by. The reporter is concerned that they won't receive enough training and supervision to carry out their tasks safely. Staff will have to supervise the loading of large steel coils into wagons. The combined weight of these coils can be over 70 tonnes. To avoid any movement or unravelling they have to be seated and banded together correctly. It is being suggested that three or four days' training for this will suffice, but the reporter views this as wholly inadequate. In the past, the training programme would have lasted much longer, with staff new to the job being supervised by an experienced member of the team for several months.
The reporter is also concerned that staff on the traction side will be required to learn shunting in three weeks - which actually includes many half days - and go out into a busy yard without the required skills and knowledge.
In addition staff are doing the rolling stock technician (RST) course in a single day; this course used to take several weeks. The reporter fears that they won't be assessed properly on the required number of trains - which always used to be ten - and will not acquire anything like the knowledge they needed for the old exam.
The reporter requests that DB Schenker:
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the reporter for raising their concerns.
The tasks commented upon are performed by staff appointed to a new position of engineering team member production. DB Schenker fully consulted with the relevant trade unions when introducing this position and due cognisance was taken of comments made by the trade union representatives.
As holders of this new position are required to undertake safety critical duties, the position has been broken down into separate elements and all relevant tasks have been fully assessed, with an appropriate competence assessment regime introduced for each element.
The duties of this position are an amalgamation of other roles, and it is therefore likely that different applicants for the position will have differing levels of previous experience, as a result of which a training needs analysis (TNA) is undertaken for each applicant.
The results of this TNA are then used to facilitate the production of a training course, which is tailored to the requirements of the specific member of staff concerned. As a result it is not possible to identify particular timescales for the different aspects of this training.
We can assure the reporter that no member of staff will be allowed to undertake any safety critical duties until such time as they have passed the appropriate competence assessment.