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Inquiry findings

Several inquiries into recent accidents and incidents have found that the workload of supervisors and low-level managers, together with insufficient numbers of available staff, were contributory factors. What follows is a collection of notable extracts.

The Grayrigg inquiry uncovered staff shortages and extended working hours .
Photo: Lawrence Clift

Derailment at Grayrigg on 23rd February 2007

Paragraph 229 states: "Time records show, and the track section manager reported, that to keep on top of his workload, he usually worked 50 to 60 hours a week, over five days, including Sundays when rostered. He was not managing to achieve all the inspections that he was required to do personally..."

Paragraph 245 states: "The difficulties were exacerbated by staff shortages and rostering difficulties, and the introduction of assessment in the line which increased the supervisor’s workload and created an environment where his team were hard-pressed to achieve the mandated supervisory inspections."

Paragraph 249 states: "Workload and extended working hours were both factors that might have contributed to the track section manager forgetting to do the inspection."

Trackworker struck by a train near Victoria Station
on 13th November 2007

Paragraph 153 states: "Witness evidence indicates that the Track Section Manager had a high workload with regular weekly meetings at Croydon on Tuesdays, the normal day for patrol 4A. In practice he was only able to get out on the track on Wednesdays, or on Sundays if he worked the additional day as overtime. Even so, his track walks were often only carried out monthly. He would alter the day of each patrol if required. Sometimes the track chargeman accompanied him on the walks. The high administrative workload of the Track Section Manager is an underlying factor in the accident."

Fatal accident involving a trackworker at Reading
on 29th November 2007

Paragraph 163 states: "The possession co-ordinator’s geographical area of responsibility had increased, as had the size of team for which he was responsible during early 2007. At the same time he lost the support of an experienced assistant. The combined effect of these changes meant that the possession co-ordinator experienced a significant increase in his workload for which he was inadequately equipped or supported. This impacted on his ability to manage his team and was an underlying factor in the accident."

Source: RAIB Rail Accident Reports (Crown Copyright)

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