May 2012 in Train Operations
Concerns have been raised about trains at Canton depot being moved whilst staff are still carrying out work on them. Activities carried out on trains stationed in the depot include inspections, refuelling, cleaning and the emptying of toilet tanks.
The reporter comments that there has been an increase in trains being moved before they are ready despite Not to Be Moved boards being present. It seems this has been occurring since the Controller was moved to an office outside of the depot. It is felt that this has led to a change in working practices with telephone communications being now more heavily relied on when authorising trains for movements. Previously, the Controller would always wait for the relevant paperwork to be signed by all parties before authorising a train to be moved.
Could Arriva Trains Wales:
Response from Arriva Trains Wales
Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) would like to thank the reporter for raising this concern. The issue was also raised recently by a Health and Safety Representative during their regular meetings with Managers. ATW would like to reiterate its commitment to ensuring the safety of its employees is of paramount importance. This concern resulted in an investigation and review of our fuel point operating procedure.
During this review an area of potential risk that had previously gone unnoticed was identified. The unit release protocol relies on completion of all tasks on the 175 fuel point examination sheet (block card). This completed sheet signified the unit was in a fit condition to be moved. This release for movement is then communicated to the Operations Team Leader via telephone.
On investigation, it was found that one of the block card entries included two separate tasks potentially involving two artisans (refuel and toilet tank evacuation). As the reporter correctly states, there had been an instance where Maintenance Staff had released a unit to allow train movement in error as there was still a toilet evacuation pipe attached to a vehicle.
An important point to note is that even though the movement instruction was issued, no train movement took place. The fitment of 'Not To Be Moved' boards and the attached 'tag' of the artisan carrying out the toilet tank evacuation prevented this.
Having been made aware of this incident, and the potential risk it posed, the fuel point examination block cards were amended to split these tasks and require an individual sign-off for each.
A briefing document, noting the amendment to the process and reminding staff of the correct unit release protocol has been issued. In addition, poster reminders have also been strategically placed around the depot to ensure employees are in no doubt of the correct procedure.