Capturing detailed Human Factors causal data for SPAD events – RSSB

What are the key HOF issues?

The Safety Management Intelligence System, known to many as SMIS, is the rail industry’s on-line health and safety reporting and business intelligence software. It collects and provides access to information on thousands of safety-related events that happen each year on the rail network in Britain. Part of SMIS, the Causes form provides an industry-wide mechanism for collecting underlying Human Factors cause data so that industry can identify trends in accidents and make informed safety decisions.

What did you do?

The Causes form has been built into SMIS and is structured around the human performance factors and the 10 incident factors. Human performance factors include errors or intentional rule breaking by a person. The 10 incident factors include weaknesses or failures in an organisation’s systems such as in the design of equipment or provision of training. Causal data is being entered by rail operators for signals passed at danger (SPADs) and the data is monitored/analysed by the RSSB Human Factors team.

What were the results?

The data from the causes form is being used to understand trends in accidents at a national level but individual companies are also using the data to understand their SPAD events. The Head of Safety at GBRailfreight says “We have been using the cause information from SMIS to feed into our safety strategy. We have been targeting causes of incidents which are linked to our three most common 10 incident factor groups: equipment design, risk management and competence management. We have also been able to secure buy-in from directors to invest in a non-technical skills programme based on the cause data from our safety events.”

Author:  Alice Monk (RSSB)