Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201400002
Date reported 06 February 2014
Concern title Driver qualifications
Concern summary

The route qualification of contract drivers.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Freight
Concern subject type Rail: Operations

Reporter's concern

The reporter advised that during a busy period in December 2013, the operator used contract drivers who were not qualified on the routes they were operating and had not received the required yard orientation training for the shunting operations they undertook at different yards.

The reporter also advised that the contract drivers had not been inducted to enter sidings, which is in contravention of the organisation’s safety management system.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

Let me once again reiterate my concerns with the ATSB's approach and rigour with dealing with the REPCON process and its assertions that the regulations would include a rigorous and robust approach to ensuring that the system isn't abused. When the ATSB fails to apply the rigour required in the regulations, we as an operator are obliged to divert safety resources to responding to questionable REPCON complaints.

Based on the vague information available to me from the complaint received I believe I can identify the incident being discussed as this has been topical and previously discussed with our relevant staff. I can assure you this allegation was investigated and an incident report was forwarded to TSV in relation to the matter.

I believe this is an industrially motivated allegation. We only use contract drivers, predominantly supplied by one contractor, but on occasion we have used another contractor. All contracted drivers follow the requirements of our safety management system, irrespective of employer.

In December a signal passed at danger (SPAD) was reported on the main line. The SPAD was investigated by me and there was minimal exposure to safety risk and a low consequence event.  Indeed, to my knowledge this was deemed not to be a Notifiable Occurrence.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

The ONRSR undertook a Compliance Inspection at the operator's Head Office relating to the issue of 'driver route knowledge and training'.

During the Compliance Inspection, we sighted evidence of the operator's training and monitoring of 'driver route knowledge'. Upon doing so, we did not identify any issues relating to these concerns.

However, please be mindful that we will consider the content of the report for further planning of compliance activities within upcoming audits and inspections.

Last update 15 May 2015