Latest Rail News

07.02.18

RSSB: Industry should adopt collaborative ‘just culture’ for managing staff

Rail companies should stop blaming staff for incidents and instead focus on understanding how they perform at work, new guidance has advised.

Published today by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), the new guidance argues that instead of issuing blame, companies should focus on understanding how people perform at work, what affects their performance, and how this can be enhanced.

It aims to help rail companies develop more effective competence development plans (CDPs), that help staff perform to the best of their abilities.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has highlighted the importance of CDPs having found that deficiencies in competence management systems have contributed to serious accidents.

It is also a legal requirement to ensure that people are sufficiently competent to carry out safety critical work on the railway.

Guidance for train drivers has been around for some time, but it is now available for those working as guards or platform staff who dispatch trains.

RSSB’s lead human factors specialist, Paul Leach, explained: “The key point here is about having a fair culture – sometimes referred to as a ‘just culture’.

“This recognises that everyone makes mistakes and a range of factors relating to the organisation, the job and workplace can affect performance.”

“Of course, situations involving wilful violations or gross negligence will prompt punishment, but experience suggests that rail staff are proud of their professionalism, and so will be more responsive to a system which builds on their competence constructively and creates more trust and confidence in teams.”

Top image: davelogan

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Comments

Guard   07/02/2018 at 22:25

This is good to see. In my little corner of the industry we have a selection of Guards Competence Managers who almost gleefully initiate CDPs, withdraw competence and issue written warnings at the slightest mistake. Meanwhile when the same managers are out playing Guard on a Sunday or working their obligatory 6 hours a month to retain competence, any incidents are quickly dismissed and they're back out assessing the next day. There isn't a fair culture at all in competence assessment.

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