March 2010 in Freight Operations
CIRAS has received a similar report to 40793, concerning the lack of personal needs breaks (PNBs) and access to adequate facilities.
The reporter states that some diagrams, for example, are 12
hours long and staff
work this shift with virtually no breaks at all; that is they are constantly driving.
Although the rosters show that PNBs are scheduled, in actuality drivers end up
having short breaks, especially when facilities are far away. Walking to and from the facilities, disposal and train preparations significantly reduces the break time - the actual resting time on a 45 minute break is more like 20 minutes.
The lack of facilities away from depots compounds the issue.
According to the
reporter, a break should be in a clean, dry location, with access to a toilet, a
microwave and a kettle, away from the working environment. This is only available
when breaks are taken at a depot however.
The reporter is concerned that mistakes will be made because
drivers are not
refreshed. The lack of actual break time taken by drivers means that fatigue levels could increase and lead to lower concentration levels.
Although managers are aware of this issue, the reporter states that nothing appears to have changed. Drivers do not feel they can raise their concerns for fear of recrimination - the reporter states that when drivers have insisted on taking full
breaks, the management response indicated that drivers will be reprimanded if trains are delayed as a result.
Freightliner Heavy Haul are asked to address the following points:
Freightliner Heavy Haul are in discussions with ASLEF regarding
what constitutes a
Personal Needs Break (PNB) facility. The issue has been raised to executive level
following business council discussions. The timings of breaks between second and
ninth hours are clearly defined in the drivers' terms and conditions and Freightliner
Heavy Haul have no plans to change this. Many diagrams are currently being
reviewed to ensure that drivers do not have a spoilt PNB but if any drivers should
have difficulty in taking a PNB they must report this to the local line manager. If they do not receive a satisfactory answer then they should contact the general manager of operations or the professional head of operations.
All base rosters are run through the Fatigue Index to ensure
compliance with the
company standard on rostering of safety critical workers.