The reporter has raised a safety concern relating to insufficient document control by [the Operator] train controllers.
The reporter states that controllers regularly issue Work on Track Authorities on night shift without the paper train graphs being up to date at the time of issuing the authority. The reporter states this has led to a regulator running through a worksite that was protected and the reporter is concerned similar incidents will reoccur unless document control procedures are improved. The reporter believes that Controllers are putting Protection Officers lives at risk by prioritising getting gangs on track and not keeping the graph up to date.
The reporter claims that the issue of controllers not updating the paper graphs on night shift is not isolated to one or two incidents, rather it is a systemic issue. The reporter states that [Operator] has either not identified insufficient document control as a factor in safeworking breaches, or has elected not to rectify the insufficient document control to prevent further breaches.
The reporter is concerned that track workers will continue to be at risk until [Operator] effectively identify, monitor and enforce document control relating to Work on Track authorities.
Operator's response (Operator 1)
[Operator] wishes to thank the reporter for raising this concern, and is open to receiving information from our employees that help to identify potential areas for improvement in the safety of our operations.
[Operator] introduced additional measures to address the area of the reporter’s concern and has recently undertaken a full review of its train control training including the processes and procedures relating to the use of train graphs. The results of this review are currently being evaluated, and any necessary changes will be made in the near future.
Regulator's response (Regulator 1)
ONRSR conducted regulatory activity in February 2019 regarding this matter and as a result, the operator is implementing a safeworking improvement plan. ONRSR will monitor the implementation of this as part of the 2019 National Work Program.