April 2011 in Train Operations
Concern has been expressed about the use of mobile phones at National Express East Anglia depots.
Staff (including contractors) are frequently seen using their
mobile phones whilst carrying out operations around the depots. An
example is given of a Driver and Shunter both using their mobile
phones whilst carrying out a manoeuvre.
Although the company have recently issued posters warning staff about the use of mobile phones in the work place, the reporter feels that not enough is being done to enforce the rules. An accident could easily happen if someone is distracted by their mobile phone.
The reporter suggests a total ban on the use of mobile phones in depots as the present rules implemented by NXEA are clearly being ignored.
Could NXEA comment on:
It has previously been recognised that mobile phones have become common place in everyone's daily life but in the work place they may pose specific risks to safety.
Therefore in 2008 instructions were issued at NXEA's two main engineering depots regarding the safe use of personal mobile phones and other personal audio devices whilst at work. This stated that if staff are required to make or take an urgent personal phone call then they should use their rest breaks and always ensure they are in a position of safety.
The risks and instructions regarding the use of personal mobiles is clearly explained to all new starters and contractors before starting work at the depots as part of our local depot safety instructions/briefing.
It is also recognised that some staff are issued with company mobile phones for use whilst at work, and similarly staff are instructed to always ensure they use them in a safe manner and are in a position of safety.
Depot Drivers and Shunters are instructed during their training that the use of mobile phones whilst carrying out operational duties is strictly prohibited. As part of their periodic competence management and assessment, this requirement is reiterated, and in addition periodic unannounced monitoring for compliance is undertaken. The control of shunting movements is however conducted by the use of hand held radios.
Management and Director safety checks are conducted regularly at the depots and have not identified use of mobile phones where safety has been compromised.
It is acknowledged that continuous monitoring of mobile phone use in accordance with local instructions is difficult to police, however NXEA will raise the awareness to staff of this matter through further briefings. It is important to note that any member of staff observing a non compliance is obliged under the Health & Safety at Work Act to report the matter to their Manager or Supervisor. NXEA already have systems in place to enable staff to report the specifics of the matter to their local Managers anonymously.