In an article for RailStaff magazine, CIRAS reps from rail, tram and metro explain how CIRAS helps their companies to address health and safety concerns from the frontline, and what their role entails.
Here are just some of the comments from our featured CIRAS reps and former reps! Read more in the article.
Jo Parker, safety, health and environment manager, Transport for London:
“With the best will in the world – we’ve got a lot of good reporting systems and everything in place – it doesn’t always work. People are not always comfortable to report things for whatever reason: maybe they’re worried about their job, they’re not comfortable with their boss… and it’s just nice to know there’s somewhere else to go and your name’s not going to be put out there.
“CIRAS is confidential, so people are comfortable with it. And if the first place they go to report something doesn’t work out, they feel comfortable that they’ve got somewhere else to go where they feel safe.
“There’s a CIRAS champion in each area of the business, and if we get a report in that’s relevant to a certain business area, I share it with them.”
Nathaniel Chambers, talent and training manager, Tram Operations Ltd:
“When I first started at Tram Operations, I was repeatedly asked, ‘Who are CIRAS?’. The biggest challenge has been getting over suspicion of the reporting process. Communicating honestly about what CIRAS is and how it works helps overcome this. Senior managers and leaders might appear sceptical initially, then they always get on board after I explain that CIRAS is not trying to discourage staff from speaking up internally. It helps that I emphasise that we can use the report to highlight things that we can improve.”
Kevin Ogilvie-White, lead safety manager, Great Western Railway:
“We take CIRAS reports very seriously – each could be an opportunity to reduce risk or avoid an incident. We allocate each report to the person best placed to look into it, and they will undertake a full investigation, looking for how we can use the intelligence to improve health and safety. I review every response, and they are discussed at senior level meetings as part of our whole reporting process.”
Liam Linford-Smith, operations director, Civil Rail Solutions:
“By raising a concern through CIRAS, staff can be open and transparent because they know it’s confidential. They can raise the actual problem, the facts. They don’t have to feel that they need to dilute the situation because they don’t want to drop their team or supervisor in it, for example, and they can report it immediately – middle of the night or middle of the day, everything can be done via the CIRAS website, which is really easy to use.”
Mike Wills, head of safety and environment, West Midlands Trains:
“CIRAS brings both parties to the table, and it’s important that both parties understand clearly all the issues identified.”
- Confidential reporting