What's New Alert
7.1 Human Resource
Manpower is the most valuable asset in any organization, more so in IR which is highly labour intensive. The Indian Railways with a work force of nearly 1.5 million is one of the biggest employers in the world. To have the optimum output from the workforce, higher motivation level and stress free environment is to be ensured. Suiting the job requirements, skills of manpower have to be suitably developed requiring adequate attention in their training facilities.

7.2 New Challenges

The challenges and pressures of the coming decades would require Railway staff to be developed in a way different from what has been done hitherto. Technological advances including those in the fields of IT and communication along with rapidly changing expectations of the new generations will force every railway employee to think and act differently to produce matching results. Not only new management system and expertise would be required but also a totally different organizational culture and management ethos would be called for to maintain competitive edge. Railway employees would have to take advantage of the knowledge explosion, acquire and assimilate new skills in rapidly changing technology in their respective areas of work.

7.3 Human Failures
Under optimum field conditions and with the best of intentions, a human being is likely to commit a mistake from time to time, i.e. from one in hundred (10_2) to one in thousand (10_3). This is the reason why operating rules include many redundancies in safety procedures and operating practices involve number of checks and balances. Equipment is utilized to prevent human errors and automation is resorted to. By providing all such technical checks, it is sought to reduce chances of likely mistake to one in million (10_6).

Another reason for high incidence of human failures is the fact that technical safeguards and backups do not necessarily replace the human effort. Direct responsibility for preventing an accident has to be properly ascribed. Staff becomes complacent with the knowledge that technical support is available to them for checking their mistakes. Repeated failure of technical support as merely an overlay creates a situation, which is worse. Though an accident occurs only when both fail but it usually gets logged as `human error' with a tendency of glossing over technical failure. With increase in number of failures of such safety support systems, the technical backup is not really available.

7.4 Maintenance Staff
One important aspect is the staff failure of `other than front line staff'. Derailments constitute around 75% of consequential train accidents on IR. While it is an undisputed fact that frontline staff should be properly trained and their working closely monitored, the focus must now gradually shift to staff working in production and maintenance activities, since they are responsible for majority of the accidents, that occur due to `failures of railway staff'. Necessary infrastructure and staff would be created for maintaining new trains as is done in the case of running staff.

7.5 To enhance the quality of human resources, multi-pronged strategy would have to be adopted.

7.6 Recruitment
  • The focus will be on appropriate aptitude while selecting personnel.
  • A review and update of minimum qualifications prescribed for each category will be undertaken taking into account required knowledge, skill and availability of trained manpower.
  • To improve the quality of recruitment of safety category staff, the job eligibility standards would be raised for general as well as reserved category candidates.
  • Increase in the proportion of lateral induction at specified levels for critical safety categories would be considered.
  • A review of recruitment rules would be carried out for induction of officers and staff for multi-skilled jobs.
  • The initiative taken to reorganize Railway Recruitment Board (RRBs) and enhancing the quality of recruitment would be sustained.
  • Gangmen and drivers above the age of 50 and upto 57 years would be given option to seek voluntary retirement and one of their wards will be given appointment, if eligible.
  • A suitable computerised test programme would be developed and standardised for determining the physical characteristics such as alertness, reaction time, stamina and ability to withstand frequent changes.
Aptitude Tests
The psychological tests being given to new entrants as well as departmental candidates for Station Masters and Drivers etc. will be upgraded and revalidated through competent external professional agencies. These tests are proposed to be converted into computer-based packages for their conduct and evaluation. A multi-disciplinary team is proposed to be sent to advanced railway systems for apprising itself of latest techniques of aptitude tests.

7.7 Training
Modernisation and Upgradation of Training Centres
  • As main Training Centres have already been granted Rs.73.5 crores out of the SRSF for upgradation, remaining training centers, including Basic Training Centres spread all over the Indian Railways are also proposed to be modernized with provision of necessary infrastructure at an overall outlay of Rs. 220 crores (inclusive of allotment under SRSF).
  • Modernisation of training centers would cover institutions imparting training of various disciplines viz. Civil, Mechanical, Signalling and Electrical Engineering etc.
  • Special emphasis shall be laid on training of bridge engineers and supervisors on regular and continuous basis, at least for next 5 to 6 years to adapt technologies appropriately.
  • ISO certification
    In the long run it is desirable that all staff training centres and work centres would obtain ISO _ 9002 certification and the concept will be extended to all divisional control offices and stations and other work centers.
  • Competency based training to maintenance staff
To improve training methods and switching over to multi-media packages, it is proposed to extend the scheme of competency based training and the staff working in Workshops and Open Line would be given necessary certification. It will be necessary to possess certificate of competency to work on the identified critical safety activities such as TXR depots, Workshops and Flash Butt Welding Plants.

  • Apart from conventional methods, interactive training with personal computers would be introduced on the lines of modern training methods.
  • Training Modules
A central training cell, composed of multi-disciplinary team of specially selected staff and officers would be started. It will be assigned the responsibility of designing training courses and preparing quality training material.

  • The selection of trainers would be based on appropriate aptitude and skill.
  • The training capsules for Drivers and Assistant Drivers would be thoroughly reviewed and greater emphasis would be laid on practical training.
  • It is proposed to delegate more powers to field units to make liberal and extensive use of outside training facilities in IT and technology areas.
  • Refresher course for each category will have sufficient case studies of accidents caused due to human failure of that category of staff.
  • Training modules will give stress on `know-why' and `show how' rather than the know-how to stress on the practical aspects of the training system.
  • Training at the work-spot via the RAILNET, will be made available.
7.8 Examination system : Promotion rules and procedure

  • Over a period of time, a question bank containing objective type questions with multiple-choice answers covering the entire syllabus will be built up. Data bank containing questions covering the entire syllabus will be made available to trainees. At Training Centres, written examinations/test papers will contain objective type questions covering the entire syllabus in random order with multiple-choice answers.
  • When any staff belonging to a safety category becomes overdue for periodic medical examination, refresher course or safety camp, he would not be permitted to continue on duty until he completes the stipulated training/examination.
  • After recruitment, for initial training at ZTCs/STCs, pass marks may be upgraded. For promotional course training also, pass marks may be revised.
7.9 Strength of staff and vacancies

  • Staff requirement are proposed to be worked out afresh for zero-based assessment of manpower. Based on the exercise, sanctioned strength of staff may be revised and made uniform. Concept of multi-skilling would be adopted.
  • Categories having difficulties in filling up of promotional posts, existing AVCs may be revised.
  • All Safety category vacancies would be filled up on urgency basis .
  • Accountability for filling up of vacancies in safety categories will be clearly assigned at appropriate level.
7.10 Modification of Rules

  • With the changes in operating system and pattern of working, modernization and technology upgradation, rule books and manuals will be taken up for reassessment and making them simpler for compliance.
  • A comprehensive accident manual universally applicable to all the Zonal Railways would be framed and circulated.
  • Departments/zonal railways that do not have a particular manual would get one prepared within next 2 years.
  • Separate modules would be drawn up, category-wise, containing do's and don'ts for ensuring safety and preventing failures and accidents.
  • All instructions in consonance with existing manuals would be issued through correction slips to Manuals and Rule Books.
  • Hand Books containing relevant rules, framed in simple language, for different categories of staff would be issued.
  • Compendium of establishment rules pertaining to running staff, and operating staff would be made available to employees directly.
7.11 Inspections

  • To improve quality of inspections, detailed check list of various types of inspections would be made out and circulated.
  • The quality and compliance of inspections would be made an important plank of the management tools.
  • Special safety audits by multi-disciplinary teams would be intensified.
  • A computer data base would be prepared at the Divisional and Zonal Headquarters to assess the efficacy of field inspections.
  • Safety critical checks would be conducted by all inspecting officials.
  • Safety test checks will be intensified as vigilance-like powers have been given to the safety organisation.
  • As the element of surprise and the opportunity to observe performance of staff under actual working conditions in the field is of prime
  • Importance, surprise inspections give an accurate indication of health of the particular unit. Surprise inspections would be intensified, specially between 0 hrs. and 4 hrs. at night.
  • Test checking of inspections of subordinate officers.
  • Maintenance depots and other activity centres would also be covered by night inspection.
7.12 Periodical Safety Drives

  • Certain activities in the railway working, which are seasonal in nature, are neither required to be performed by staff nor required to be checked by supervisors during the course of normal working for the most part of the year. It is for these kind of activities that safety drives are generally targetted.
  • Safety drives would be launched in order to correct a system failure, whenever detected.
  • In the safety drives, all equipment that are to be attended would undergo a cyclic inspection before a particular season. Number, duration and contents of particular safety drives would be selectively decided to retain their focus and value.
7.13 Safety Audit
  • Inspections generally single out individual failures, safety audits are expected to identify system failures and generic shortcomings.
  • Periodic safety audits would be undertaken at various levels for making an in-depth assessment of safety systems. These safety audits may be of many types viz, multi-disciplinary team from Railway Board, inter-Railway, multi- disciplinary headquarters team, inter-divisional, etc. The main purpose behind conducting safety audit is to check only safety critical items and identify system failures or generic shortcomings.
  • Railways will identify the worst sections on the divisions with unsatisfactory safety record. Teams would thoroughly audit different units pinpointing deficiencies including ancillary activities viz. staff training, material supply, availability of funds, defective policies/rules etc.
  • Safety audits would be carried out at a number of installations within the target area.
7.14 To promote devotion, dedication and sincerity towards duties, Human Resource Development (HRD) Cells are proposed to be constituted at Zonal, Divisional Headquarters involving dynamic and knowledgeable supervisors to study :

  • Working habits of ground level staff
  • Factors leading to short cuts
  • To reduce fatigue, minimize monotony and improve safety consciousness.
7.15 Review of working hours
To reduce stress, the working hours for identified critical categories of staff would be reviewed, wherever necessary.

7.16 Simulators Training
More and more simulators would be procured for training of drivers to equip them with better capability and reflexes.

7.17 Crew Management
To assess the actual problems faced by the running crews, proper record would be maintained at crew lobbies and follow-up action taken within 24 hours of observations made by drivers. The deficiencies noted during crew runs would be identified and corrected expeditiously.

7.18 Breathalyzer Tests to be strengthened
The Divisional Officers and Supervisors would be provided with mobile breathalyzers for testing of running staff on the footplate with an element of surprise.

7.19 Crew friendly cab for locomotives
An ergonomic design of loco cab has been developed to provide easy approach to various control handles/buttons. Providing new features will ensure fatigue-free driving for long hours.

7.20 Upgradation of Running Rooms
It is well established that running rooms should be provided with certain basic amenities like proper hygienic toilet facilities, clean drinking water, proper ventilation, desert coolers, subsidized meals, etc. All the new running rooms would be built with improved layout and proper amenities. The existing running rooms are being upgraded on an urgency basis.

7.21 Upgradation of crew lobbies
Crew lobbies also need to be upgraded by providing basic amenities, facility for proper display of various instructions, computer and software package for proper booking of crew and ensuring adequate rest for running staff.

7.22 Guard-friendly brake van
5000 Goods brake vans will be provided with several novel features for making them Guard-friendly and easing stress for goods trains guards.

7.23 Strengthening of Railway Protection Force
To combat outside interference with railway installations like track and signalling equipments etc., it is proposed to equip Railway Protection Force/Railway Protection Special Force with specialized training, weaponry, vehicles and wireless communications and necessary backup support in terms of manpower and barracks. These personnel will also help in guarding railway bridges, microwave towers, route relay cabins and track in identified vulnerable sections.