Rail safety issues and actions

Fatigue management controls

Issue number: RO-2011-016-SI-04
Who it affects: All owners and operators of rollingstock
Issue owner: Specialized Bulk Rail (SBR)
Transport function: Rail: Freight
Background: Investigation Report RO-2011-016
Issue release date: 03 April 2013
Current issue status: Partially addressed
Issue status justification:

SBR to review its fatigue management systems to ensure the potential of fatigue is controlled throughout the rostered period.

Safety issue description

SBR’s process for assessing its drivers’ roster for relay operations relied excessively on a score produced by a bio-mathematical model, and it had limited mechanisms in place to ensure drivers received an adequate quantity and quality of sleep during relay operations.

Proactive Action

Action number: RO-2011-016-NSA-015
Action organisation: Specialized Bulk Rail (SBR)
Date: 03 April 2013
Action status: Closed
Specialised Bulk Rail provided inclusive details of its fatigue management program specifically highlighting that: The locomotives in use by SBR are designed to minimise driver task load. SBR's locomotives are some of the newest on the interstate network, and have incorporated many design features to mitigate fatigue risk... Sleep opportunity, with crew facilities are designed to maximise restorative sleep is crucial to reducing fatigue. SBR has dedicated crew rest facilities attached to each relay operating train. As with the locomotives, these rest facilities have been designed to maximise restorative sleep opportunities... In designing rosters, SBR assesses each roster with FAID software to design rosters that will minimise fatigue, if appropriate restorative sleep opportunities are taken by the drivers when given the opportunity... SBR believes that its rostering practices, in context, are conducive to reduced fatigue risk and adverse safety outcomes... SBR's specific risk context, without prolonged or persistent fatigue, we believe supports a view, supported by research that SBR's rostering practices are likely to reduce the risk of drivers experiencing fatigue associated with impaired performance.

ATSB comment:

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau notes the response provided by Specialised Bulk Rail Pty Ltd. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau encourages the continual improvement of fatigue management programs by rail transport operators to ensure that the risk from fatigue is managed so far as is reasonably practicable.
Last update 13 February 2014