May 2010 in Train Operations
A reporter is concerned that fatigue could cause mistakes to be made by workers dispatching trains.
Staff are working extra hours after their regular eight hour night shift is over and the reporter is unsure that c2c are managing fatigue levels when staff work these longer hours.
When working extra hours, shifts can become up to 12 hours long, with the extra hours added onto the end of the shift. This longer shift is often timetabled to occur on consecutive days and this is when the reporter believes staff may experience fatigue - tiredness makes concentrating on dispatching trains more difficult and mistakes could be made because of it. In addition to this, the reporter is aware that staff are entitled to a half-hour break during the eight hour shift, but this isn't always taken due to high workload, adding to the fatigue.
The reporter would like to know how fatigue levels are currently managed? Also, if the practice of extending normal shift hours is going to continue, the reporter would like c2c to consider giving workers a break between shifts. Is this possible?
The 2010 rosters for c2c retail department staff are currently being reviewed against a fatigue and risk index calculator, that is widely used throughout the rail industry. The tool was originally developed by QinetiQ as part of research being undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive. We try to avoid extending turns of duty, particularly on nights, but this is not always possible due to exigencies of the train service. The current terms and conditions of employment for c2c retail department staff allow for turns of duty to be extended for this reason. We are, however, looking to include a suitable break in the turns of duty for train dispatch staff where those turns are extended, and this is being considered as part of the wider review of rosters now being carried out.