The systems, machinery, hardware and software used to run rail operations are often necessarily complex, but ONRSR is becoming increasingly aware that operators are not always fully aware of the detailed operational specifications of their many and varied pieces of kit.
Recent investigations have revealed that certain features of rolling stock have functioned as they are designed - given a prevailing circumstance - and that serious incidents could have been avoided if there was greater awareness of that design by rail safety workers.
There have been two recent runaway incidents where drivers have been unfamiliar with how braking systems will operate under specific conditions they may face. There can also be similar issues when operators upgrade software systems, infrastructure or rolling stock.
As the old saying goes, the devil is in the detail and it is imperative that all rail safety workers have a complete understanding of the full functionality of any systems or kit they are working with or operating. Under Rail Safety National Law and the terms of their accreditation, operators are required to provide all the necessary training, including refresher training as appropriate, to maintain rail safety workers’ competency and capacity.
ONRSR is asking operators to review operating procedures that deal with safety critical system design issues and speak with their technical and engineering staff to ensure any gaps are addressed and inadvertent safety issues are avoided.