The damning report highlights ‘poor morale’ among workers as one of the factors as to why there are failures in reporting. The Safety culture in Irish Rail is one of a very poor standard as employees fear being blamed or reprimanded by senior management. The relationship between senior management and employees seems to have soured as a result of recent pay cuts, the possible reorganisation of Irish Rail and the opinion that senior management only consult with ground staff to ‘deliver bad news’.
The independent audit which was carried out by a UK-based consultancy firm stated that some of these ‘near-misses’ include incidents of over speeding and marker boards (which indicate to drivers that there are temporary speed restrictions in place) in the wrong position. Auditors agreed that trust needs to be built between management and staff to ensure that incidents are reported. The importance of this is so that employees feel like they can approach management with incident reporting and management will get a full picture of the real risks present. From this they can implement solutions, controls and standards to reduce the risks. Transparency is needed from the ground floor right up to management to reduce risks and deter potential accidents which are potentially disastrous.
General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said: “Hundreds of millions have been spent on redundancy, staff numbers have been cut by thousands and the workload and responsibility have increased, with no extra remuneration for staff.”
“Therefore you don’t have to be an expert on rail safety to understand that low morale among frontline staff, the vast majority of whom perform safety-critical functions, can result in negative consequences.
“We have been consistent in highlighting the fact that the rail service in Ireland is seriously underfunded, there is an obvious challenge here for the minister. He needs to assure the travelling public and Irish Rail staff that the safety of the railway is not being compromised as a result of funding cuts.”Irish Rail said the findings were contained in a draft report and that discussions with the RCS were ongoing.
Full Report: http: www.independent.ie