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29.11.13

Culture change needed to tackle fatigue – IOSH

Managing worker tiredness is one of the most significant factors in railway safety, the vice chair of the UK’s all-party parliamentary rail group has warned.

Speaking at the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)’s Rail Industry Conference 2013, Kelvin Hopkins MP said: “We are one of the safest railways in Europe, and the industry should be proud of that. Nevertheless, we must recognise that fatigue causes injuries and deaths to workers and passengers on our railways.

“Tiredness hampers mental alertness and affects performance, causing errors because of reduced concentration, perception, judgment and even memory. Ultimately, it can lead to drowsiness and involuntary sleeping, which may cause accidents.”

The conference was held 25 years after the Clapham Junction disaster.

Martin Leeks, chair of the IOSH Railway Group, said: “As Kelvin Hopkins accurately pointed out, the rail industry’s safety record is good. However, this doesn’t mean we can afford to rest on our laurels.

“We need another culture change, where long working hours are seen as a hazard to our employees, companies and passengers on the network. We absolutely shouldn’t be waiting until the situation is so bad that we risk another Clapham Junction disaster.

“By shouting about good examples of fatigue management, promoting good practice and helping companies to meet modern guidelines, we hope underperforming companies will put in place their own schemes.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

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