May 2011 in Freight Operations
Drivers at DB Schenker are concerned about the way in which Personal Needs Breaks (PNBs) are being rostered.
Instead of rostering PNBs in the middle of a shift, they are often placed at the beginning or end and in noisy cab environments. It is believed that this form of rostering defeats the object of taking a break and can make Drivers even more fatigued.
One example given is where the first 20 minute break is taken as soon as a Driver arrives at their depot and the last 20 minute break scheduled for the end of an eight-hour shift. Another example is where a break was scheduled at the end of a six-hour shift, onboard a passenger train, whilst travelling back to the depot. Although rostering breaks this way is compliant with rules, it seems rather nonsensical to Drivers.
Despite mess rooms being available at depots and along routes, breaks are often rostered onboard very noisy cab environments. This does not allow Drivers to rest or make use of facilities for washing, eating, using the toilet and refreshing themselves.
Could DB Schenker:
Firstly DB Schenker Rail UK would like to thank the reporter for raising their concerns.
DB Schenker acknowledges that there have been times when PNBs
have been rostered at the beginning or the end of a shift. We have
ensured that this process has been safety validated prior to
implementation. Our diagramming continues to focus on average turn
length through productive diagramming. As a result of this process
we will be able to ensure that all PNBs are spread evenly
throughout the Driver's shift giving an even balance of work and
rest. Where possible we will always look to roster a PNB during the
shift rather than at the beginning.
DB Schenker can confirm that as a company we are committed to ensuring that all of our Drivers' links are processed using the fatigue index tools as guided by the industry standard.
Where possible DB Schenker will arrange for a PNB to taken at a facility where there is either a DB Schenker mess room or our customer has a facility available for our staff to use. The ability to have a PNB on a passenger service is an agreement we have available to us, however if any individual has a problem acquiring a seat during this journey then they should escalate this through their local management.