We asked Akanni Johnson, Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) long-standing CIRAS rep, to give us a quick lowdown on his experience as rep and how it helps at the train operator.

Akanni Johnson of Govia Thameslink Railway

Above: Akanni Johnson

What do you do as a CIRAS rep?

I support all GTR’s reporting avenues for staff and have been a CIRAS rep since 2015. I make sure actions identified within a CIRAS response are completed and that the responses we provide are robust and contribute to the company’s Zero Harm policy.

GTR has a dedicated page on its intranet for CIRAS, maintained by my colleague, safety team organiser Heidi. We work together to ensure information from CIRAS is adequately communicated to our entire workforce, and that all concerns raised are effectively addressed.

How does being CIRAS fit in with other safety activities at GTR?

A CIRAS report often acts a precursor for something that requires the attention of the Safety Assurance team. As a result, in combination with other data and factors, we may include subjects raised though CIRAS in our Assurance programme.

Why do you think CIRAS is important?

In addition to safety representatives and line managers, CIRAS provides another important avenue through which safety concerns can be raised. It is another listening ear which helps to promote safety.

Tell us about a CIRAS report that has really helped to make a change in health and safety at GTR?

The one that readily comes to mind is the provision of a restroom for cleaning staff at London Victoria. The restroom used by cleaning staff was below standard and this was reported to CIRAS. Network Rail owns the station facility. Having received the CIRAS report, the facilities manager and engineering director intervened quickly to ensure a suitable restroom was put in place for staff.

What’s unique or different about CIRAS?

CIRAS is confidential and independent.

What kind of safety issues and themes are you seeing at GTR?

Recent issues of concerns include facilities maintenance, such as lift breakdowns and concerns about using electronic equipment.

What advice would you give to a new CIRAS rep who is starting in the role?

Work closely with staff, safety reps and the managers in order to get the desired result. Communicating effectively with all relevant parties is also extremely important.


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