Friday, November 13, 2009

SAFETY SEMINAR-
Paper prepared by V Mohan Kumar, LP Mail / Bangalore.

SAFETY- When it is pertains to any transportation industry means ‘THE PUBLIC SAFETY’ in totto. So Indian Railways too runs a mockery Department in name of safety, which normally comes under the traffic officers whose intention will be to run trains only.

Safety in any transportation industry comes into picture only when the wheels are moving. If the wheels are standstill there is no question of safety. So the wheels movement and the movers of the wheels (Drivers, Loco pilots, Air line Pilots etc) are coming at the pinnacle of safety. In Indian Railways they are the Loco Running Staff (Loco Pilots, Asst. Loco Pilots & Shunting Loco Pilots).

There are primary concerns of safety and secondary concerns of safety, which the Railway officials perhaps ignore or not understand. For example Effective brake power is required for stopping a train. But the brake power rules of Indian Railways say about the percentage brake power only. It does not say about the effective brake power. But when it comes to the reality the effective brake power (Which depends on the brake ri9gging, no. of brake blocks according to the wagon design, type of brake block, air brake or vacuum brake etc) is the primary concern of safety and the percentage brake power (which depends on the working of brake cylinders, brake pull rods etc) is only a secondary concern for safety. The primary safety concerns are neglected by the Railway top brass because of the obstinacy and corruption of some of them (There is a saying like an adage ‘Railway officers always like an ACCIDENT happen’ due to the huge un accounted/un audited money they can spend for the relief works etc with out any quotations/tenders or other legal formalities). Another reason fro their concentration on secondary safety concern is the huge commission or percentages of work cost. The new constructions and demolition works fetch them very good returns as percentage or commission (Another name for corruption). These are sayings that this commission is a flat 30% or more of the work cost). That is why Indian Railways is the only department internationally, whose thousands of construction/demolition works going on through out the 365 days a year. Here another example we will point out. Indian Railways collected around 18000 crores of rupees as safety surcharge from the public by increasing the ticket fare. The entire amount they spent for construction, demolition and modification works, where the percentage exists. But the fact if tired loco pilot sleeps on duty due to the 6th continuous night duty which is the product of the out dated HOER framed in British era, an accident is inevitable they neglected constructions/modification work will not prevent the accident at that time. This is the greatest fact which our Railway Administration ignores due to the un accountability at their part. The primary concerns of safety- the loco running staff are ignored totally in Indian Railways. The history starts from the out dated HOER framed in the British period.

The first thing is the duty hours. The safetiest category people , the loco running staff- who carries the lives of thousands of passengers with them have to work 12 or 13 or unlimited hours as per this HOER and Railway Board guidelines. Any common man can see the big unsafety in this. If a driver drives a vehicle continuously for 13 hrs or more will there be any safety. Then what will be the condition of the loco pilot who drives a train for 13hrs with out any food breaks like lunch break or supper break, suppressing the natural calls, with a continuous vigil and sustained attention. That too 365days in a year. (There are no calendar day rests or national holidays for the Loco Pilot). The Railway Administration hood winks the public by saying that “the 12hrs or more duty we force on the goods train Loco Pilots only, where passengers are not involved”. What a big lie!! They are going to implement (already implemented in some divisions) this 12 hrs of working in passenger trains also. Secondly if a goods train loco pilot is getting tired and passes a danger signal and rams into an express train?? The accident will kill hundreds of people. So the 12 and more hours of working whether it is for goods train or passenger train, gives the same effect-An Accident-which may kill hundreds with huge loss of nation’s revenue. The Railway officers are very dare to do anything detrimental to the public safety due to their unaccountability.( if any accident happens the Railway officers-who are the real causers of the accident-will wash their hands putting the responsibility on some poor class III employee). An example of their unaccountability happened in Hubli division of South Western Railway. 2 goods train Loco Pilots-who expressed their inability to work further due to fatigue created due to a 12 hours working including a night duty were REMOVED FROM SERVICE. Had they worked further it could have been a major accident. At that time also those Loco Pilots only would have been fixed telling that’ not asked relief after 12 hrs of working’. This is the best example of Railway Officers un accountability. Even if thousands of people killed also , the Railway officers SCOT-FREE with lakhs of crores of rupees unholy income from the accident relief works, In all the accident cases the public used to keep quite, since they are totally in dark about Railway working which adds the fuel to the Railway officers corruption. (Some public even goes to the extend of saying “Loco Pilots are getting good salary. Then why can’t they work.). This ignorance is there with the PEOPLES REPRESENTATIVES too why because they don’t understand the true nature of the Loco Pilots working, the risk they carry, the responsibility they shoulder. Against such a arduous /unsafe crew link, when the Loco Running staff stopped working in Trivandrum division/Palaghat Division the entire public turned against the Loco Pilots is an example of this ignorance. The reason for all these things is the out dated OER which was framed in the British period during the STEAM era. According to the HOER Loco Running Staff are classified as continuous. This classification was correct in stem period. Where there were sufficient rests of 3-4 hours in the duty itself for coal loading, watering etc. But present is the electric and diesel engines period. No rest with in duty. A continuous vigil/sustained attention is required. So the Loco Running staff must be classified INTENSIVE. This point the Railway officers neglect since the vacancy will increase. The ultimate truth is ‘the railway officers want to kill the people through accidents for the sake of few lakhs rupees which will be multiples of what they saved by their economy policy, which they neglect or welcome due to the unholy income they get.

The HOER kill the people not only by longer duty hours but there are other menaces too. The continuous 6 night working is one among them. When all other categories of Indian railways take a night rest after a night duty, the Loco Running staff who take the risk of safety of thousands of passengers have to work 6 continuous nights. (Even an Air line pilot takes the risk of 100 to 400 passengers on board only). What further required for the Railway officers sadist/Accident prone mentality. Since no Accountability on them, the punishment will go to some innocent class III employee, mostly a Loco running Staff in case of any accident. This fishing in troubled water mentality can be bridled only by the actions of the people’s representatives. Another paradox is that the RDSO (Railway Designs and Systems Organisation)-Railways Own Department- suggested that there should not be any continuous night duties after 3rd day since it will be harmful to safety. During a Loco Running Staff strike of Trivandrum/ Palaghat Divisions against the unsafe crew link, the DRM/TVC Sri Titus Koshy told the media ‘ Every crew link we made according to the HOER only. They are striking for their comfort’ What a big blunder!! He kept a big silence on two points1.When did the HOER frame.2. When the RDSO recommended only 2-3 continuous nights maximum in view of public safety. Why did he implement more night duties for the Loco Pilots.

The rest is a very big necessity for any drivers. But the Indian Railways still not realize it at all. The Loco Running Staff must work all the 365 days in a year with out any calendar rest or holidays. The periodical rests which should be clubbed with the normal head quarter rests are not given so. The different stresses developed in the mind will subside only during rest and is very very essential for a safe driving. Any body will understand that restless driving will jeopardize safety but not the Railway officers. The private/Public sector companies are forcing the employees to go for picnics. They even compel the employees to take minimum 1 month leave in a year, not for improving safety but to improve productivity, but the rests are abridged, leave and sick are denied(If a loco pilot reports sick for ill health, the DME or DRM will tell the Railway Medical Officer not to keep him in sick even though he is real sick) Sick may be mentally or physically. Kinds of stresses are the example of the former .Any loco pilot has to take rest when he has a stressful mind (may be due to leave denial, continuous night duties, inability to attend any functions etc) The Medical officers do understand this but the pressure from the administration prevents them. Everybody understands the thing. The purpose of rest whether head quarter or out station or periodical, given to the Loco running staff is for PUBLIC SAFETY, which our Railway officers dare to neglect and when they do so they are inviting an Accident. The location of the running rooms, its type of construction, dormitory type accommodation, the non-AC construction, the sub standard food they serve ….. are all examples for this. Even in training institute hostels they arranged double bedded rooms where safety is not necessary. The air conditioning of the running rooms and engine cabs is a must for safety due to the unbearable heat waves, smokes and dust. (When a motor car costs 2 lakhs rupees is air conditioned then why can’t they air condition an engine which costs crores of rupees)

The stress may develop in the mind due to several reasons. The insufficient pay and allowances is one among them. See the Air line pilots their duty is confined mainly on take off and landing. They take the risk of lives of a few hundred passengers only. But the Air line authorities are very particular to give them higher pay and allowances. They are taking rest in star hotels in view of safety with pick up and drop facility. This must be compared with the Indian Railways Loco Running Staff- who take the risk of thousands of passengers. The dirty running rooms and nasty food as they get. Every pay commission reduced their pay and allowances with a competitive spirit. But when it comes to the punishments-“they always get the capital punishments for even minor offences”. All these things create too much stress in the minds of the loco running staffs. When they work with this stressed mind there is no safety for the passengers. They cannot participate in any social functions, marriages, rituals other ceremonies. They have been denied from taking leave or sick. Working all the 365 days in a year no festivals or NHs, no calendar day rest. Their children are growing with out his control. Every thing he faces at his work place is adverse to his life. All these things are creating tremendous stress in his mind, derailing safety.


One more thing we must understand at this juncture. This is the era of terrorism here and there in our country. Any where they may do sabotages. A boulder on the track or a stem on the track is enough to kill hundreds. The reflex action of the Loco pilot is a must. Stress will decrease the reflex action in turn affecting safety.

So in general, every thing which affects the Loco running staff (mentally or physically) is connected to the Public Safety in Railways. That may be an ill health, continuous duty hours, continuous night duties, improper rest, substandard/dirty running rooms, poor loco ergonomics, leave denial, sick denial, poor health of his family members, severe unjust punishments, improper pay and allowances etc. All are detrimental to Public Safety. When we highlight all these things to the public and media they takes a blind eye to all these.

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Annexure 1. A small work study sent to the CRB by AILRSA/SWR
2.The Article ‘Do it now or die’ published in FIRE magazine.
3.The article ‘ The long hood menace& some facts’ in FIRE magazine

1 comments:

SANJAY SRIVASTAVA said...

sir mistake comming from our pepoles side 50%person ready to work for only OT u see if railway stop the OTfrom than date railway officer coming a under the running staf u see in vskp div example minimum duty bord 15 to 16 hour this is the misteak a some greedey person enterd in our categery

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