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Research into health on the railway A presentation to the ARIOPS Conference, York, 18 October 2010 Michael Woods Head of Operations and Management Research What I am going to talk about ... General update on the RSSB research programme Where are we now, one year on:

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research into health on the railway

Researchinto health on the railway

A presentation to the ARIOPS Conference, York, 18 October 2010

Michael Woods

Head of Operations and Management Research

what i am going to talk about
What I am going to talk about ...
  • General update on the RSSB research programme
  • Where are we now, one year on:
    • T662 Developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards
    • T663 Managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety-critical occupations
  • Progress with:
    • T699 Fatigue and shiftwork for freight locomotive drivers and contract trackworkers
    • T924 Qualitative evaluation of colour vision testing tools, followed by a quantitative colour perception assessment
    • T940 Identifying, quantifying and managing the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries and illness among train driversdriver
  • Discussion
governance arrangements 1
Governance arrangements (1)
  • A considerable portfolio of research into occupational health has been managed by RSSB as part of the DfT-funded R&D programme since 2002
  • Our work is sponsored by Safety Policy Group which is a sub-committee of RSSB’s board
  • Funding levels are currently under scrutiny and we are awaiting details of likely future budgets following the Government’s forthcoming announcements about the comprehensive spending review – research is a good investment but when money is tight …
  • Details of the research can be found at http://www.rssb.co.uk/research/rail_industry_research_programme.asp
governance arrangements 2
Governance arrangements (2)
  • Over the last year and a half we have moved to a business case process which involves identifying the costs and the likely benefits of undertaking each piece of research
  • This includes the cost of implementing any findings as well as the value of benefits
  • We are therefore better able to concentrate on research which has both strong stakeholder support and good prospects of being implemented
  • The ownership of implementation by industry is an area we are seeking to improve on – we are not (just) a publishing company!
governance arrangements 3
Governance arrangements (3)
  • We have been given the green light by DfT to merge the railway industry research programme with the strategic programme to improve synergies and reduce costs
  • Going forward there will be more emphasis on strategic research initiatives
  • As yet the health of the industry’s workforce has not particularly featured on the strategic radar - we will have to work out ways of bringing such issues to their attention
  • Meanwhile please continue to submit research ideas viawww.rssb.co.uk/research/allsearch.asp
remit
Remit
  • The RSSB-managed rail industry research programme aims to assist the industry and its stakeholders in achieving key objectives:
    • Improving performance in terms of health and safety, reliability, and punctuality
    • Increasing capacity and availability
    • Reducing cost
    • Integrating all of these to compete effectively with other transport modes (or complement them as appropriate) and deliver a sustainable future for the railway
  • The programme focuses on industry-wide research that no individual company or sector of the industry can address on its own
health topic research plan
Health topic research plan

Research areas:

  • Managing the health risk to employees from the effects of work on health
  • Effects of employees’ health on work to manage the health and safety risk affecting the workforce and others
  • Interaction between work and health to improve employee (productivity and) performance
  • Effects of passengers’ health on the rail industry, affecting the workforce, other passengers and the public
  • Research to support output from inquiries, government recommendations, policy initiatives and new legislation.
recently published health projects
Recently published health projects
  • T662 Developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards
  • T663 Managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety-critical occupations
  • T865 Updating drugs and alcohol policies and testing methods
current health projects
Current health projects
  • T699 Fatigue and shiftwork for freight locomotive drivers and contract trackworkers (being finalised for publication)
  • T940 Identifying, quantifying and managing the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries and illness among train drivers (stage one completed; stage two in preparation) This research is sponsored by Operations Focus Group
  • T924 Qualitative evaluation of colour vision testing tools, followed by a quantitative colour perception assessment (in development)
communication of results
Communication of results
  • Website www.rssb.co.uk/research/allsearch.asp
  • Health booklet (new edition in preparation)
  • Seminars and conferences
  • R & D Newsletter – subscribe at:

www.rssb.co.uk/research/enews.asp

t662 developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards
T662 Developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards
  • Last year Sharon Allaway presented a paper to you covering this project, focussing on
    • Requirement for medical assessments
    • Format of medical standards
    • Outcomes of medical assessments
  • I would like to understand how this is being implemented
t662 developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards12
T662 Developing guidance to assist with the application of medical standards
  • I have incorporated her slides into this presentation in case anyone wants to refresh their memories
  • My questions are
    • Who is using this research?
    • Is it proving useful?
    • Are there any issues which are proving difficult to resolve?
t662 why create guidance
T662 – Why Create Guidance?

Save you time and money spent issuing pass certificates

Help improve your compliance with the medical requirements of RGS

Ensure that your clients do not contravene the requirements of the DDA

Provide an evidence base for reference to when drafting medical standards for clients

t662 research findings
T662 – Research Findings

Outcomes of medical assessments

Medical issues leading to restricted passes

Medical issues leading to fails

Medical issues leading to ‘other outcomes’

Issues specific to jobs or standards

Consistency in interpretation and application of standards

t662 creating uniformity in application of discretionary clauses
T662 – Creating uniformity in application of discretionary clauses

Standard outcome phrases

Specific outcome phrases

General outcome phrases

t662 development of guidance
T662 – Development of guidance

Creation of outcome phrases

Framework for guiding decision making with regard to use of phrases

Generic risk assessment process map

Guidance for duty holders

t663 managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety critical occupations
T663 Managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety-critical occupations
  • This separate project was also covered last year and has since been published - it covered:
    • Societal risk
    • Staying alive
    • Reason versus emotion
    • Rules
      • Example Rule
      • Law of Similarity
      • Good – Bad Rule
    • Risk management systems
t663 managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety critical occupations18
T663 Managing the risk of sudden incapacity in safety-critical occupations
  • Again, it would also be helpful to know what progress has been made in this area
  • We had a very useful seminar at RSSB and there was a great deal of debate about the key issues
  • Sharon’s summary follows:
t663 why create guidance
T663 – Why create guidance?

Increase your flexibility to allow more individuals with less than perfect health to continue working

Encourage greater consistency in your decision-making by referring to a defined threshold of risk

Ensure your clients do not contravene the requirements of the DDA

Provide an evidence base for reference to when drafting medical standards for clients

t663 research findings
T663 – research findings

Operators’ systems for assessing risk

Operators’ issues with OHPs

Continuum of comfortableness with risk

Safety risk associated with sudden incapacity

Opportunity for flexibility

t663 tasks analysed
T663 – Tasks analysed

Driving a rail vehicle on running line outside possessions

Signalling

Line controls (normal operations)

Operating points (mainline)

Operating level crossing equipment and controlling signals

Controlling the movement of trains to and from the running line

Operating level crossing equipment & controlling signals

Operating a vehicle on permanent way for maintenance

Maintaining, repairing or laying track, components etc

Controlling movement of train into and out of possession

Controlling the traction supply

current projects 1
Current projects (1)
  • T699 Fatigue and shiftwork for freight locomotive drivers and contract trackworkers (being finalised for publication)
    • This research has focused on updating the previous work which covered fatigue and its impact on passenger train drivers
    • It has identified good practice and some areas for improvement
    • Since the previous project was completed a number of improved systems of managing research, especially for shiftworkers, have been identified
    • It’s not all about what managers need to do – workers need to take personal responsibility too and present themselves for duty having taken advantage of rest periods
current projects 2
Current projects (2)
  • T940 Identifying, quantifying and managing the risk of musculo-skeletal injuries and illness among train drivers (stage one completed; stage two in preparation) This research is sponsored by Operations Focus Group
    • The first stage of work has looked at the literature in this area and the medico-legal background
    • A key area is the ergonomics of the driving task – covering the drivers, train cabs and routes
    • We are developing a remit for the creation of a guidance tool which can be used by train operators and which will also be recognised as a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, if implemented, by the courts
    • We want to avoid the need for every employee to be assessed on an individual basis
current projects 3
Current projects (3)
  • T924 Qualitative evaluation of colour vision testing tools, followed by a quantitative colour perception assessment (in development)
    • This research was proposed by Network Rail and is designed to either replace or complement the traditional Ishihara test
    • Safety Policy Group has asked us to develop the research in stages so that we do not commit funds to the end game before we are sure that the approach is valid
    • We are therefore revisiting the specification and the business case
    • If there are any questions I know that there are some experts in the room who will help me with the details
summary
Summary
  • Happy to answer your questions and that you can answer mine
  • As always my contact details are available:
    • michael.woods@rssb.co.uk
    • 020 3142 5439
  • Email tends to be more reliable!