March 2010 in Freight Operations
A GB Railfreight driver is concerned about the perceived lack of
that are in place to limit the effects of fatigue in current patterns of rostering. Backward shift rotations - for example, where night turns are followed by morning
ones - are said to be particularly difficult for drivers who do not receive 24 hours rest.
The reporter's main concern is that robust control measures
introduced a few years
ago after a couple of SPADs and a collision appear to have been removed. In
particular, the reporter highlights the following measures from May 2008 which are
considered to be particularly safety critical:
Drivers were never officially briefed on the control measures,
according to the
reporter, but the minimum rest period has effectively now been reduced to 18 hours.
Late alterations made to base rosters are said to be generating
more fatigue. The
concern is that shift patterns are becoming rather erratic - night, morning and
afternoon turns can all be rostered within a seven day period. It is pointed out that
base rosters themselves will be compliant with the appropriate rest periods, but what happens in reality can depart substantially from these.
The reporter would like to see GB Railfreight reinstate the original control measures listed above to control the safety risk still believed to be present - is this possible?
There has been no relaxation in the codes of practice as mentioned by the reporter.
The codes were reviewed at a recent Union liaison meeting in January and no issues were raised.
A further voluntary addition with regard to returning from leave
was made. Fatigue
control measures are constantly monitored and no incidents have occurred that have resulted in any breach of fatigue limits as a result of erratic rostering according to our records.