Monday, August 14, 2000

Joint Safety Committee Meeting - Minutes 15th March 2006

  • Stewart Palmer Managing Director
  • Mac Mackintosh Engineering Director
  • Margaret Kay Human Resources Director
  • James Burt Operations Director
  • Ian Johnston Customer Services Director
  • Brian Cook Head of Operational Standards
  • Alan Cracknell Head of Safety & Environment
  • Paul Wilks Field Safety Manager
  • Barbara Davenport Head of Occupational Health
  • Denise Ryan Occupational Health Nurse
  • Phil Bialyk R.M.T. Divisional Organiser
  • Iain Anderson T.S.S.A. Divisional Secretary
  • Graham Morris District Secretary, A.S.L.E. & F.
  • Martin Dye A.S.L.E. & F.
  • John Walsh T.S.S.A.
  • Mick Benfield AMICUS Regional Officer
  • Bill Read R.M.T. Driver, Waterloo
  • Rickey Goodman R.M.T. RO2, Waterloo
  • Graham Crowe A.S.L.E. & F. Driver, Weymouth
  • Pat Banbury (Secretary) 1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE None 2. MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING Waterloo gantries: Brian Cook has taken up with Network Rail the issue of signal sighting recommendations and is awaiting a response. Stairs at Wimbledon: Ian Johnston said Network Rail have not completed the process of letting a contract and the earliest the work will be done is May 2006.
  • Smoking in cabs: whenever possible turn round cleaning will be carried out. Heritage line slam door units: Mac Mackintosh advised that some door problems occurred within the first month of the introduction of the new doors, and it had been established that passengers had been kicking the doors before the release was given. It has not been necessary to replace any magnets since January, but spares are available should the need arise. 3. PERIODS 9, 10 & 11 PERFORMANCE REPORTS Lost time accidents are at the lowest level for several years. Staff assaults are still an area of concern. Last year there were 35 successful prosecutions. Stewart Palmer asked if these could be publicised and it was agreed that Ian Johnston will liaise with Tony Holland regarding posters. Action: Ian Johnston Power Door Operating Incident at Richmond: consideration is being given to the best course of action to prevent a recurrence. SPADs risk ranking: Brian Cook explained that Network Rail have changed the risk ranking. Most of SWT’s are in the low risk category, taking into account any mitigating factors such as TPWS. James Burt pointed out that there has been a reduction over the past couple of years. Minor accidents in Fleet depots: there has been an upward trend over the last couple of periods. An analysis is being undertaken to see if there are any common trends, although nothing has so far been identified. 4. TRAIN DISPATCH/CUSTOMER SERVICE VESTS (COMPANY WIDE) Rickey Goodman stated that new vests have been issued that did not have Velcro or poppers. Ian Johnston explained they are being trialled in the Southampton area because of visibility on platforms. HV vests could be used for shunting, however for train dispatch there should not be any increase in risk. James Burt pointed out that there was no greater risk between staff wearing the new vests and wearing their uniforms without vests. It was explained that the new vests are not a substitute for HV vests. 5. NON SAFETY CRITICAL STAFF (WORKING HOURS GUIDE LINES) A safety brief had been issued last summer regarding non-safety critical staff “doubling back” twice a week and Rickey Goodman said he understood that this could only be done once under the Hidden guidelines. Ian Johnston explained it is in the Safety & Health Manual. The brief says a maximum of 2 x 8 hour turns in a week can be carried out. Graham Morris considered this should be investigated because of the fatigue index and he felt it is an unacceptable practice in this day and age. James Burt advised that a meeting has been arranged at which this can be discussed. Phil Bialyk expressed concern that this could be put in the rosters on a regular basis, but Stewart Palmer explained this would be outside of an agreed roster pattern. 6. SMOKING IN CABS Traincrew have been provided with the results of the questionnaire. It has been decided not to introduce an outright ban, but some staff have expressed their disappointment about this. A few have complained that cabs are still being left in a bad condition. Barbara Davenport showed the group “butt pouches” which are basically portable ashtrays. Graham Crowe said most problems are caused by staff travelling passenger. Smokers will be issued with wipes in addition to the pouches and Barbara Davenport suggested that the discussion should be renewed in September. SWT will run smoking cessation groups and purchasing patches. 120 people have said they would like support to give up and it is intended to have enough products to support 500 a year. Individuals will be asked to commit to attending group meetings lasting 2 hours for a total of 6 weeks. It is hoped these will start at the beginning of April. People will have a choice of the type of aid they receive. Stewart Palmer said that at present we are trying to educate people and it will be difficult to enforce. James Burt considered that we should advise people that the new law will ban smoking in a year’s time. Graham Crowe suggested that until the law changes only train crew should be permitted to smoke. Stewart Palmer said a plan should be drawn up to cover the period until the new law takes effect. Martin Dye said consideration should be given to how to stop long distance drivers from smoking. Stewart Palmer said a communications/education plan will be drawn up. James Burt said SWT will ascertain what other TOCs are doing. Phil Bialyk pointed out that if staff continue to smoke it could leave SWT liable to legal action. Stewart Palmer said he would value feedback from the Staff Side regarding any plan that is drawn up. 7. RAIL SAFETY LEGISLATION In April HMRI are moving over from HSE to the Office of the Rail Regulator. HMRI have confirmed they working to a “seamless” changeover and this will not affect the working relationships with South West Trains. New legislation will be introduced, mainly as a result of European legislation. Safety Cases will be replaced by Safety Certificates. SWT will be applying in July for a new certificate. A key change will be the greater emphasis on demonstrating that we have a robust safety management system. Stewart Palmer advised that HMRI will be making more inspections on the ground of our safety arrangements.. This will be included in the training provided to Health & Safety Representatives. 8. SAFETY RE-ORGANISATION The meeting was updated on the review of safety support to the functions. It has been decided that the Field team should come under the line Managers who are responsible for delivering safety, but with a dotted line to the H.Q. Safety team. It is planned to introduce the revised arrangements from the beginning of May with the Safety Advisers being located within the functions. In addition it is intended to move the Safety Training Centre from Eastleigh to the Operations Training Centre at Basingstoke, which is being redesignated the Operations & Safety Training Centre. Ian Anderson asked about on track safety and Alan Cracknell explained this training will be undertaken at the Operations & Safety Training Centre Basingstoke. The safety trainers will move to Basingstoke and the range of courses available will be unchanged. Graham Crowe asked about additional travelling time to Basingstoke. Alan Cracknell responded that the majority of training already takes place at Basingstoke. 9. WHEEL/RAIL ADHESION UPDATE Mac Mackintosh advised that tests at Wildenrath have been completed. Formal inquiries are being undertaken by Network Rail and RAIB. James Burt will have further discussions with Graham Morris and the three secretaries from Company Council in April. In the meantime an autumn preparedness group has been established and will meet very soon. Consideration is being given to setting up a joint group with Network Rail. Graham Morris pointed out there had been a large number of incidents across the country and there are a number of issues that could have mitigated these; he was concerned that in theory there was the potential for the whole system to be shut down. Mac Mackintosh confirmed that WSP protects the train. Sand has been introduced. In order to reach a conclusion it is necessary to establish the views of both SWT and Network Rail. Martin Dye advised that drivers believe Desiros are not reacting in the same way they use to, and thought the settings had been changed. Mac Mackintosh assured him that Siemens are not allowed to adjust the settings. The wheel rail interface appears to be getting worse and as a result more WSP activity is occurring. Stewart Palmer said this is a very serious issue and it is necessary to understand the wider industry issues. There are some strange anomalies, for example last autumn one train had no problems but an almost identical one did. The draft report is expected shortly. 10. PERSONAL SECURITY Ian Johnston said the number of prosecutions is now being reported and some of these include assaults. There had been 398 this year and 500 last year. Work is being carried out in conjunction with the RSSB to produce a DVD. A new course is being designed with Maybo. The accident forms will be re-designed. Graham Crowe asked if staff are reporting sick following assaults. Ian Johnston replied that the actual numbers of staff assaults are quite low. Graham Crowe then asked if staff had subsequently taken sick leave as a result of stress and Iain Anderson asked if SWT still identify hot spots. Ian Johnston confirmed that the hot spots are identified and said that many of the problems are caused by school children. 11 ‘FLU PANDEMIC PLANNING Additional advice has been given about an imminent flu epidemic. A lot of activity is taking place regarding advice and planning for this. There are guidance notes being issued to TOCs and an internal working group is being set up. It is not possible to predict the effects if the epidemic does strike. SWT is deciding on the best approach to take. The media have claimed the railway will be shut down but in fact there is no intention to do this. Barbara Davenport said it is likely that schools will be shut in the event of an epidemic, but there will be a reduction in passenger numbers. The government is saying that by the law of averages the country is due for an epidemic. SWT will encourage staff to take up the offer of injections. Stewart Palmer said that when a plan is drawn up this needs to be communicated. Barbara Davenport stressed the importance of keeping everything clean. 12. EMERGENCY JOINT EXERCISE DORCHESTER This exercise was based on the scenario of a train striking a camper van at a crossing. Lessons were learned by all the services involved. There is a formal debrief process and SWT will meet Network Rail on 21 March. All personnel who were involved will be included in the debrief. When the report is published this will be circulated to Joint Safety Committee members. Graham Crowe had heard that because Network Rail knew what would be happening they took over straight away, but this would not happen in a real incident. 13. SWT WHISTLE BLOWING POLICY The “Speak Up” Policy has been re-issued. An audit late last year showed some of staff were unaware of the policy. New staff are given copies of the policy as part of the induction process and it is available on the intranet. 14. DRIVING CAB GRAFFITI The group were shown pictures that Brian Cook said were taken on 10 March. There are also instances of vandalism and reports have been received regarding damage to the AWS. Four units had been found with vandalised AWS today and six yesterday. As a result spares are running out which is causing a shortage of units resulting in staff being abused by passengers. Brian Cook emphasised that the consequences for any member of staff found causing this damage will be severe, and he sought the Staff Side’s assistance to stamp this out. Margaret Kay suggested a joint statement from Management and Unions would make the position clear. Stewart Palmer explained that no-one has been identified and, although it would appear likely to be drivers, it could be other members of staff. Martin Dye pointed out that staff have complained about the noise level in the cabs. Alan Cracknell responded that Scientifics will be undertaking tests on a good sample of cabs, comparing the different types of units. Graham Morris said he is aware that there is a problem with noise levels. Brian Cook explained that it takes time to resolve a problem, but joint action with the Staff Side is needed. The Desiro has the best driving cab SWT has had and it is essential that vandalism is stopped. Stewart Palmer pointed out that there is a Group Standard that must be adhered to. It takes time to obtain a derogation against the standard and SWT has to obtain evidence to get permission to address the problem. The Committee were asked to send out a clear message that damage is not acceptable and any problems will be dealt with, but the proper procedure must be adhered to. Graham Morris asked that any letter sent out acknowledges the problems that are being encountered by drivers. Action: Brian Cook 15. ANY OTHER BUSINESS Rickey Goodman referred to the risk assessment undertaken at Richmond ticket office on the VDU equipment and the disabled window. Recommendations were put in place but problems are still being encountered. Ian Johnston was not aware of this and undertook to look into it and respond directly to Rickey Goodman. Action: Ian Johnston Rickey Goodman said the staff at Surbiton had requested that a risk assessment be carried out on the ticket barriers. It was explained that one had been carried out as part of the process to obtain approval from the HMRI. Hill start button on the Desiros: Bill Read said this has not yet been completed. Action: Barbara Davenport Martin Dye raised 450s, 444s and 458s stopping at Wimbledon Park staff halt. He had heard about 14 people getting into a driving cab. There are 3 early morning trains stopping there. Stewart Palmer said it should be possible for the guard to operate the first set of doors to allow people out. Stewart Palmer asked Alan Cracknell and Brian Cook to resolve this. Action: Alan Cracknell and Brian Cook Martin Dye referred to climbing in and out of cabs of Desiro and 458 stock in Depots on the side away from the conductor rail, in places it is difficult to step up and he asked if the risk assessments are generic. Alan Cracknell explained they are held by the local manager. Stewart Palmer asked Alan Cracknell to discuss this with the Head of Drivers and it was noted that Clapham was the main location where problems were encountered. Graham Crowe asked if it is possible to have a greater variety of work. Stewart Palmer responded that this was discussed at Company Council. Martin Dye confirmed that a Joint Working Group is investigating this. Smoking: a lot of people possess BR1 keys, which enable them to gain access to 442 cabs. Children surfing on trains: Mick Benfield asked if there has been any change on this. Alan Cracknell confirmed that the numbers are relatively low and there are two to three incidents each four weeks. John Walsh requested feedback at the next meeting on the Health & Safety Representatives’ training courses. Action: Alan Cracknell 16. DATE OF NEXT MEETING Wednesday 28 June at 13 00 in the Rochester & Chatham Rooms.

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