Track and signalling

24.01.19

RAIB to launch class investigation following front-line worker incidents

 

Image credit - viole

The RAIB has announced it will launch a class investigation into a number of life-threatening incidents in which safety systems on the railway were entirely dependent on the decisions of front-line track workers.

The class investigation will look into factors affecting safety-critical human performance in signalling operations on the rail network.

This directly follows numerous incidents in which “the decisions of front-line workers have been pivotal to the outcome” and the safety of the rail system “has been entirely dependent on those decisions.”

The RAIB said the incidents it had investigated involved the decisions of signallers, for example in arranging line blockages, or responding to users at user worked crossings.

It said it is aware of several more similar incidents which didn’t warrant a full investigation but did highlight the vulnerable nature of such decision making.

The RAIB stated that in light of these incidents, it had decided to undertake a class investigation into the factors affecting those decisions.

The purpose will be to identify the factors affecting safety-critical decisions and determine what actions might be appropriate to address them.

The investigation branch said that it is fundamental to the investigation to recognise that these decisions are never taken in isolation but are influenced by a variety of factors associated with the person, the task, the equipment or the organisation.

The RAIB’s statement added: “As well as aiming to improve safety, this investigation will also inform the RAIB’s own work when dealing with such incidents in future.”

The RAIB has led investigations into a higher than average number of track-worker incidents in the past few months with several near miss incidents and one fatality.

 

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