As part of its overall health and safety strategy, Network Rail has introduced targeted fatigue management policies to regulate how long employees spend at the wheel when travelling to, from and for work.
To reduce the risk of driver fatigue, Network Rail’s operational guidelines clearly state that drivers travelling to, from and for work must not spend more than 14 hours at the wheel. Drivers are also restricted to working no more than 12 hours within any 24-hour period and are required to take a rest break of a minimum of 12 hours between shifts.
“If the evidence indicates that the driver is at high risk of driver fatigue, the driver will be instructed to take a rest break as soon as possible.”
Drivers who work more than 12 hours within a 24-hour period must alert their fleet manager, who creates an ‘exceedance log’, using data recorded while driving, to determine whether the driver can remain behind the wheel or be obliged to take a rest-break.
The log will include information about: when the driver started their journey; how far they have travelled; any equipment they have used (e.g. were they driving a construction vehicle); and how long it will take the driver to travel from work to their place of rest.
If the evidence indicates that the driver is at high risk of driver fatigue, the driver will be instructed to take a rest break as soon as possible.
Fatigue risk management
Network Rail has also implemented other policies to reduce the risk of driver fatigue, including:
- a code of conduct that encourages drivers to travel to work by train or travel the night before and stay in a hotel;
- ‘life-saving rules’ that recognise Network Rail’s duty of care to manage driver fatigue;
- regular online assessment of drivers (every three months) to identify changes in professional duties and/or lifestyle that could increase the risk of fatigue;
- recording driving hours using in-vehicle technology;
- a driver handbook with information and advice to raise awareness of the dangers of driving tired; and
- thorough driver assessment by a reliable driver training organisation.
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