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New rosters and more staff at Hoo Junction depot

© DB Cargo

According to the reporter, staff were completing their normal shift and then covering ground staff duties, resulting in working shifts beyond 12 hours. The reporter felt that this was not safe and staff potentially lacked the appropriate knowledge to carry out some of the ground staff duties. Additionally, working long hours increases fatigue levels which can lead to incidents.

The reporter asked if DB Cargo could:

  • Review rostering patterns at Hoo Junction?
  • Make appropriate arrangements to reduce excessive working hours?
  • Consider hiring more ground staff to fulfil the workload?

DB Cargo's response
A review was conducted of 12-hour exceedances and there is no record (to date) of ground staff in the Kent area calling in to the Duty Manager to report a 12-hour exceedance. This is evidenced within Figtree, the DB Cargo Incident Record Database.

We never roster beyond 12 hours, we have and demand strict compliance against this. 
DB Cargo UK has recently undergone an organisational change and from 2 July 2017, we have been operating under our new business model. Part of that process is ongoing under our ‘Continuous Improvement’ methodology.

Historically, ground staff have been rostered in crew-plan. They are now migrating to Business Resource Planner (BRP), DB Cargo UK’s internal resource planner. This is now available for both Train Operators and ground staff. BRP has unique functionality where length and rest between working turns are monitored and prevented by the system, thus providing both a fatigue and risk index for each shift.

This index will be displayed on the individual’s roster in the form of a traffic light visual indicator. BRP also prevents staff from being rostered to turns they do not sign. We also have a ‘Working Time Directive’ to control staff working over 48 hours over a referenced period.

In response to the reporter’s questions:

  • We are currently building an 11-line new roster for implementation 01.01.18.
  • We will continue to monitor our arrangements in line with the policy.
  • We are currently recruiting three Mobile Operators for North Kent, two in the training school now and one with a qualified start date of 08.01.18.