August 2009 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Network Rail staff who fulfil the role of mobile operations inspectors (MOIs) are not being assessed or mentored once they have completed their initial training, according to a reporter.
This is said to be an issue in the Doncaster, Darlington and Leeds areas where it has been frequently raised as a concern.
MOIs hold personal track safety (PTS) certification and also work as controllers of on site safety (COSSs). They carry out safety critical operational work which involves inspecting points, hand signalling and assisting signalling and telecommunications staff.
The reporter is worried that these concerns about the assessment and mentoring regime are not being addressed at a local level at all. Once MOIs complete their initial training they are expected to work on the line and, for example, take T12s or T2s. Their handbook states that a mentor should be appointed for four months to oversee and support the work they are doing. This is done to ensure operational duties are carried out safely. During this time, six log entries are meant to be made as part of a reporting process. Other ongoing assessment requirements at six and nine months have apparently been suspended. Some new staff have never had an assessment of any kind - why not?
In addition, some staff have not been provided with full personal protective equipment (PPE). Some do not have the orange trousers they are required to have. Others are carrying out their work without copies of the sectional appendix or line diagrams.
The reporter believes there will be an accident if staff fresh from their initial training are basically left to carry out their duties without any real guidance, and "pushed out‟ onto the track. It is suggested that:
In particular, please comment on the requirements of the assessment regime and the perceived weakness in it.
Many thanks to the reporter for raising their concerns.
The LNE route has undertaken a full review of our MOI teams at Doncaster, Leeds and Darlington. This included an independent review of their track competencies and their associated log books. Three of the six Leeds MOIs have full COSS, one has IWA due to medical restrictions, one is currently in his mentoring period where he is continually supervised by a competent COSS and the other is PTS only. There are four MOIs in the Teeside area, who have full COSS and one who has COSS Ops only. All log books adhere to the current requirements, and annual reviews are underway.
At Doncaster several team members have been qualified COSSs for several years with a minimum of five years experience. The least experienced member of the team does have the appropriate level of evidence in his workbook and does have a signed off workbook. Two other members of the team are being mentored by an experienced member of the team currently in compliance with the AiTL requirements.
Certain members of the team do hold a variety of other competencies like hand signalling and points operator etc for which no further mentoring is required but evidence is collated by the individuals and they maintain this in their AiTL folder. All staff performing these tasks have been issued with the appropriate authority to work certification.
A review of PPE was also undertaken and all the MOIs have the PPE that is required, i.e. correct helmets, high visibility orange over trousers, high visibility foul weather clothing and safety footwear and all have access to the necessary safety publications such as the sectional appendix, hazard directory etc. Only one shortfall with the provision of HV trousers was identified following the recent changes, but this has now been resolved.