Mode Rail
Reference No. RR201700007
Date reported 04 May 2017
Concern title Use of correct phraseology by drivers on the metropolitan network
Concern summary

The concern related to drivers not using the correct phraseology when using radios on the metropolitan network.

Industry / Operation affected Rail: Passenger - metropolitan
Concern subject type Rail: Operations

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the drivers’ use of the incorrect phraseology when operating on the [operator] network.

[Operator] network uses open channel radios to pass information on the rail network. While the operator has the correct written procedures, with specific phraseology required, drivers on the network are not adhering to these procedures. [Operator] does not have a policy of communication audits or any other form of feedback to the drivers to enforce the correct use of phraseology. This allows the incorrect use of terminology to continue, without drivers being aware that it is incorrect as this is how it has always been done. This is reinforced daily on the open channel as senior drivers continue to use incorrect phraseology.

An example of this is the procedure to pass a signal at stop. The reporter advised that during training, drivers are being taught to use the phrase, ‘according to the rules’ when passing signals at stop. This phrase is used on a regular basis throughout the [operator] network and is going unchallenged by the other drivers and controllers.

In this instance, the controllers are giving the correct information, as required by the procedures, but the drivers are responding with, “Roger control, passing signal at stop in accordance with the rules”. This is not being challenged by the controllers, even though on an open network, they have no confirmation of which signal the driver is actually passing.

Reporter comment: This occurs on a regular basis on the [operator’s] network and is even taught by driver trainers, conducting initial training and driver coordinators during biannual driver checks.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

The [operator] takes safety very seriously and will conduct a full investigation into this matter as per the Investigating Health, Safety and Environmental Incidents Procedure.

Operator's response (Operator 2)

[Operator] has processes in place to monitor and manage radio traffic and network phraseology. ONRSR note that they have commenced an investigation into the use of incorrect phraseology. The ONRSR will monitor the progress of the investigation and its findings.

ONRSR is satisfied that the operator is adequately addressing the matter and will continue to work with them.

Last update 12 July 2018