Sydney Trains – Engineering and Maintenance Directorate Safety Focus Sessions
Bulletin 5, 2017 –
To: Infrastructure Division Members – Sydney Trains:
For the past seven months the RTBU and the ETU have had countless discussions in relation to how Sydney Trains conducts safety investigations, the level of responsibility put on employees, implementation of worksite protection, fatigue management issues and the overall culture of how safety is managed within Sydney Trains.
We have presented various proposals which include a standalone Protection Officer stream which would see a dedicated protection officer who is solely focused on their Protection duties. Sydney Trains current arrangements have employees performing their normal duties in addition to their protection responsibilities leading to added pressure on the individual.
We also proposed the introduction of safety committee’s chaired by senior management and rail safety coaches to discuss on an ongoing basis any improvements or concerns in relation to safety with representatives from the front line staff. These committees would also allow for feedback from employees collected by the rail safety coaches to be heard and addressed. Changes to network rules and procedures was also raised to be an item for discussion at these committees. Currently, changes to network rules and procedures are done by management with little to no consultation from the subject matter experts in the field. Subsequently changes to these network rules and procedures are not sufficiently communicated to employees.
Another proposal was the introduction of a new directorate which focuses on safety. This proposal would potentially give infrastructure workers from the front line opportunities to apply for roles such as Training Officers and Safety Auditors. It is the opinion of the RTBU and the ETU that this would create a more robust safety culture in Sydney Trains and also reintroduce subject matter experts with actual experience in network maintenance and major works.
We believe this would also improve morale amongst employees as they would know that anyone conducting a safety audit or investigation would be done by a fellow employee who has experience in the work RTBU and ETU members perform on a daily basis.
Serious concerns about the current safety investigation process in Sydney Trains have been raised. To many times we have seen RTBU members involved in investigations that have resulted in them being stuck sitting in the depot for months on end losing countless amounts of money as well as them and their families suffering undue stress without any correspondence from Sydney Trains. It was agreed by Sydney Trains management that the current process is insufficient and discussions will need to be had in improving this process.
Sydney Trains have decided that a Safety Reset Program across network maintenance and major works is a necessary first step in working towards a change in safety culture. The information we have received in regards to these safety resets are that they would be in the form of meetings arranged at various locations that allows Sydney Trains to shut their business down for a day to conduct an interactive discussion with their employees. Sydney Trains management informed the unions that these sessions would be open sessions and would like to engage with employees to speak their minds, without any fear or favour by anyone of any rank in Sydney Trains.
The RTBU and the ETU were notified on Monday, 31st January 2017 that these Safety Focus Sessions would begin on Wednesday, 1st February 2017 with more to be scheduled in the coming weeks.
The RTBU strongly suggested that the proposals and concerns raised by union members during these Safety Focus Sessions are to be used at the end of the process to formulate the basis of discussions between Sydney Trains and the unions on how Sydney Trains can improve on safety throughout their network.
The RTBU urges all members to use this opportunity to make your voice heard on how Sydney Trains can improve its safety culture and processes for the benefit of all employees.
As this will be a tough experience for some members, if you have concerns or ideas that you do not feel comfortable raising at these safety focus sessions, do not hesitate to talk to your local RTBU delegates or organisers for us to raise on your behalf in our discussions with Sydney Trains following these sessions.
We would like to urge RTBU members to contact us on the below information if they wish for us to present any concerns or ideas they have in relation to how Sydney Trains handles safety throughout the network.
Ph: 02 9264 2511 or Mob: 0499 710 707
Ph: 02 9264 2511 or Mob: 0418 166 742
We will be unwavering in our fight for any concerns or ideas raised by our members throughout this process.