August 2009 in Train Operations
A report has been made questioning the current capabilities of driver standard managers (DSMs) to effectively carry out safety related duties on the Bedford-Brighton route. Drivers are responsible for maintaining their own track knowledge, skills and competency, but this has to be assessed by a DSM. DSMs also carry out other safety related roles such as being on call, dealing with incidents, managing depots, and maintaining up-to-date safety notices.
Previously at FCC, there was a ratio of one DSM to 25 drivers, but has now increased to one DSM to 40 drivers. The reporter suggests that the present ratio does not take unforeseen circumstances - such as sickness or leave - fully into account. In such cases, one DSM could be responsible for up to 80 drivers.
Consequently, they are under increased pressure to carry out safety related duties. A shortage of trained DSMs exacerbates the problem. In general, it is felt important duties are being neglected with the current ratio.
DSMs operate on a self-certified safety certificate. The
reporter believes an audit should be carried out to check whether
the information stated on these certificates is being complied
with. Additionally, could FCC look review the appropriate number of
DSMs needed to manage all drivers across the Bedford-Brighton
The reporter has highlighted that at present, there is no trained first line on call from Blackfriars-Brighton.
A full re-organisation of FCC‟s operational structure took place on the 13th July 2009. Prior to the implementation of the new structure extensive risk assessments and safety validation were carried out to ensure the effectiveness of the new organization in line with current FCC standards.
The driver management function is fully supported by a team of Service Delivery Managers and Depot Managers all with a range of skills and experience designed to fully support the driver management team.
The new structure has actually created an additional tier of depot management and has further enhanced the ability to deliver the competence management system in addition to line and depot management issues.
All driver managers are fully assessed in line with group and
In terms of on-call a robust process currently exists for the business with first/second/third line levels available to deal with incidents across the business.
A review is currently being undertaken to ensure that any training needs of individuals required in any new on-call structure are fully addressed.