September 2012 in Train Operations
The reporter states that an overall reduction in the number of Managers has increased the workload for those remaining ones who are now rostered to do more on-call shifts. After working at night whilst on-call, Managers would normally be expected to work the following day regardless of how fatigued they are. It is also believed that these Managers may be putting themselves and others at risk when they drive to and from work.
Managers often feel obliged to work in excess of their contracted hours to fulfil all their duties, with some regularly working more than 50 hours a week. The reporter is concerned that being called out in the middle of the night and working the next day can affect concentration at work or when driving.
Could South West Trains:
Response from South West Trains
Stagecoach South West Trains (SSWT) would like to thank the reporter for raising the issue of management workload and would like to reassure the reporter that it takes these issues seriously.
SSWT have processes in place to manage working hours and fatigue, these were enhanced by the issue of management guidelines as part of a review into the companies disruption response, which includes the actions to take by individual Managers.
Current SSWT company standards cover fatigue management for on-call staff as follows:
"The nature of on-call work is, by necessity, unpredictable. Staff may be called out to attend for duty at unsociable hours.
On-call staff must ensure that they obtain sufficient rest when undertaking on-call duties. They must inform their Line Manager and the Wessex Integrated Control Centre (WICC) if they need to relinquish their safety critical role for a period of time after being called out if they believe that their performance will be adversely affected by fatigue.
When carrying out safety critical activities as part of an on-call incident response, on-call staff must come to an arrangement with the WICC and other on-call or duty staff to ensure the adequate provision of breaks and relief from duty. This is to minimise the potential for fatigue, especially when extended working is anticipated."
A safety bulletin covering the above will be issued to on-call staff to reinforce the existing instructions.
As a result of this report, reviews have been undertaken by Heads of Department (not necessarily the Head of Department concerned to provide an element of impartiality). The reviews did not identify any significant issues with regard to the Guards and Station Management teams. However, the Driver Management team have been through a period of change with reduced resources and the redistribution of workloads.
A detailed report has been developed from the Driver Management review which is being considered by senior management to determine the most appropriate actions to take to enhance fatigue management within the team.
A functional review of Driver Management to staff ratios and workload has also been undertaken, and the resulting proposal is currently being evaluated by the safety validation panel. This proposal is designed to improve the ratio of staff to Managers.