Our Safety Spot in the July 2020 issue of Railnews considers some of the health, safety and wellbeing issues in your workplace that you can tell CIRAS about confidentially.

You can read the article below.

Operational work sites can be full of physical risks and hazards, but looking out for everyone's safety is about wellbeing too.

Maybe you are concerned that something is not right with the way that you and your team are working.  Or you see activities on site that look unsafe, but you aren't sure and that has stopped you speaking up through internal channels.  Perhaps there is a more personal issue, such as fatigue, and you are worried you might make a mistake that compromises safety.

When you raise a concern, the important thing is that you are raising awareness of the issue.  It gives management the opportunity to investigate and even prevent an accident.

You might know for sure that something is wrong but think no one will listen to you.  Raising a concern confidentially through CIRAS means you can feel better knowing that you have taken action.

So what can you call us about?  Any safety, health and wellbeing concern.  With Covid-19, there are many new issues to do with preventing the virus from spreading.  For example: a lack of social distancing; cleaning not being often or thorough enough; no handwash or other hygiene measures; procedures to stop infection not being followed.

There are other reasons to speak up too – and all are ultimately to keep you, your colleagues, customers and the public safe.

Shift design

Fatigue can be a difficult topic to mention to a line manager, but reporting it confidentially could help them address the underlying causes – and help your colleagues, too.  With emergency rosters – as colleagues self-isolate or shield from Covid-19 – and new timetables operating, new work patterns could be contributing to fatigue.  Your mental wellbeing could also be suffering because of uncertainty, concern for others or isolation – making it difficult to focus on tasks or preventing you from sleeping.  CIRAS will listen to your concerns and pass them anonymously to your employer.

PPE

The unsuitability or lack of PPE were causes for concern even before Covid-19.  PPE items being inadequate for certain tasks or weather are among the reasons why people have called CIRAS, as well as confusion over the type of PPE needed for different sites.

Equipment

When communications and electrical equipment – such as radios, CCTV and phones – are not working, it can not only make your job difficult but also dangerous.  We recommend using internal reporting channels if it is a real-time safety issue.  If there is no immediate danger and you would prefer to speak up confidentially then CIRAS is available.  You could help prevent colleagues or passengers from being hurt.

Sometimes faulty or wrong equipment or machinery could lead to lasting health issues too, including back pain and respiratory issues, so it is worth voicing your concerns.  You might want to suggest other equipment that you believe would be safer, for example because it is quieter or has less risk related to manual handling or working at height.  Although your managers should welcome your suggestions in a strong safety culture, confidential reporting provides a safety net if you feel unsure how they would react.

Training and competence

It is hard to question competence when safety could be affected, or raise a concern about the suitability of training.  It is no surprise that you might want to talk about this in confidence.  We are here to listen, take your concerns seriously and make sure they are heard.

Welfare facilities

If a lack of facilities is not allowing you enough rest time in the day, or stopping you from being able to concentrate on tasks, then it may also be time to speak up.

Rules and procedures

Whether there are rules that are not being followed, or procedures you want to suggest in order to improve working practices, you can let your company know through CIRAS.  Maybe the processes that are there to protect people are just not working out as planned and you think they need to be reviewed.

This is all valuable information that safety-conscious companies want to know about.

You can read more about these examples and others in our newsletters and on our case studies page.

Raise a concern

Reporting hotline: 0880 4 101 101

Reporting textline: 07507 285 887