July 2012 in Train Operations
The reporter states that FCC have recently devised a new procedure where Shunters have been allocated the Designated Person role. This means that Shunters now have to check that the route has been blocked, as well as place all NTBM boards on units before any work on trains can take place.
This practice differs from theRule Book Module T10, section 3,' Duties of people working on rail vehicles', which states:
"If you are the first person to start work on a rail vehicle, you must arrange to apply vehicle protection to that vehicle or vehicles. The vehicle protection must consist of a NOT TO BE MOVED board or a red flag or red light."
It is felt that theRule Bookprocedure differs from the current role of the Shunter at FCC, in that they are not continuously the first person to start work on the unit, yet still have to place the NTBM boards on units. Thus, this change to procedure has increased the workload of Shunters, placing added pressure on them, which could lead to an incident.
Could First Capital Connect clarify:
Response from First Capital Connect
FCC would like to thank the reporter for bringing
this issue to our attention.
Shunters are responsible for depot protection of staff working on trains within the sidings that they control movements in. This is because only the Shunter can be sure what movements will be taking place. The role of Designated Person (DP) in our sidings is to ensure that only one person is applying and removing protection to ensure clear communication channels to avoid unnecessary risk. The procedure does allow for the role of DP to be delegated to another suitably trained and competent member of staff should the Shunter be unable to carry out both roles.
The Shunters workload was taken into account when writing this procedure and although the amount of time between movements on the base workings allows for this role to be fulfilled, it was accepted that there may be times, due to unplanned circumstances, that this role would need to be delegated to another suitably trained and competent person.
Further to the answers supplied above, it should be noted that following a safety tour and procedure review carried out by the engineering function, the reference to DP has been changed to Yard Protector (YP) to avoid confusion with the Rule Book reference to responsibilities of a DP. The new document will be issued and briefed to staff on completion of the internal review procedure.