Rail Safety Solutions (RSS) Ltd has been shortlisted for the SME of the Year category in the 2018 Rail Partnership Awards. The award is part of a partnership between Network Rail, Rail Media and recognises the outstanding work organisations are doing to deliver a better railway.
As part of the award submission process, the company provided evidence that demonstrated how it is driving excellence and innovation in several award category areas such as safety, sustainability and community engagement as well as detailing successful partnerships.
The company has for the last 5 years been focusing on being at the forefront of technological innovations that deliver increased levels of safety and productivity. These core principles have been the cornerstone of the business and resulted in a series of initiatives that include the Semi-Automatic Track Warning System, Rostering and Fatigue Monitoring and Safe Driver Control Methods.
The SATWS system, used by Network Rail High Output, increases safety by removing the risk of human error from the announcement of trains. This is instead performed by a treadle unaffected by human constraints such as fatigue, loss of concentration, adverse weather and sighting issues. Using SATWS guarantees the warning of an approaching train whereas the recent increase in line blockage irregularities has the potential for trains to enter the worksite unannounced.
The company’s fatigue monitoring commences during the rostering process where the in-house CRM is used to calculate the travel time to and from site, shift duration and work type. This ensures each rostered team member is matched geographically to the location of the works and has the right skillset for the task required. Any concerns with travel exceedance or shift duration are automatically flagged ensuring that workers cannot be rostered to shifts or projects unless adequate measures, such as local accommodation, are put in place to ensure that ‘Everyone [returns] home safe, everyday”.
RSS has led the way in being the first company in the rail sector to utilise a specialist Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS) for the transportation of its workforce to site. All fleet vehicles also have as standard a vehicle tracking system (VTS), dash-cam’s and hi-visibility seatbelt covers.
The company is well-known within the industry for pioneering new methods of safety and enhancing productivity and efficiency through technology. This continued commitment to innovation has resulted in RSS being one of the first rail agencies in the UK to develop a mobile application that allows both drivers and workers to submit Close Calls and raise any safety concerns, which are actively managed by the company’s compliance team. The application allows workers to submit vehicle inspection reports directly to the Fleet department ensuring vehicles are kept in a roadworthy and safe state. Furthermore, the application allows for the submission of site inspections and end of shift reports, which provides extensive insight and means that the company can actively engage with its workforce to ensure projects are completed on time. The company also supplies each worker with a card that includes a QR code which, when scanned, provides the user with a complete overview of their small tools qualifications. The technology behind this means that each learners profile can be updated in real-time to reflect their achievements.
The Group’s training division has invested significant resources in developing a cross-platform Mobile Assessment Application, designed for assessing the competency levels of its workforce using its bespoke bronze, silver and gold question sets. The use of this assessment tool means clients can be rest assured that personnel have been trained to the highest possible level and remain compliant with latest industry standards. The applications intuitive design allows the training divisions assessors to conduct assessments anywhere within the UK, even in remote areas where a 3G or 4G connection is not available. To enhance traceability the application includes the ability to capture e-signatures as well as including advanced reporting techniques that details both a geographic and time stamp of when/where the form was completed. The app also has additional functionality that allows users to hand-draw answers to questions, add notes to part of an image or draw a diagram in answer to a question.
The organisation has been driving community engagement and creating a sustainable workforce through its bespoke rail course delivered in partnership with local agencies, colleges, charities and government departments, such as The Black Country Impact project, Job Centre Plus, Youth Promise Plus, Probation Services, Evolve, BMET College, High Speed Rail College, Birmingham City Council, Talent Match, Enable, YMCA and St Basils. As part of this partnership, ATS is supporting black minority ethnic groups, women, ex-offenders, ex-armed forces, young people, those with disabilities and individuals struggling to find employment by reducing the number of barriers facing them whilst trying to gain employment.
Auctus Training Solutions, sister company to RSS, is working in collaboration with Colas Rail to design and deliver the UK’s first level 3 Rail Apprenticeship. It focuses on creating a program that provides learners with a route into the rail sector and that hones their scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical and design skillsets.
Commenting about the awards, Richard Toy, CEO of Rail Safety Solutions Limited, said
“The Rail Partnership awards are a great way to drive innovation and recognise the important contributions that company’s have made to improving safety, community engagement and sustainability. The ground-breaking initiatives that RSS has produced will help to improve productivity whilst reducing the skills shortage and age-gap, improve diversity and ensure that we deliver a safer working environment.’
Entries are to be judged through a two-stage process where in the first instance, they will be short-listed by a team of specialists from Network Rail. A final judging panel that includes senior representatives from the rail industry who will then select the winning entries.