Risk assessments on the agenda at Mantena.
Tore Hanseth is safety and quality advisor at Mantena. One of his tasks is to ensure that the company always complies with government laws and regulations, as well as applicable certifications and contractual requirements.
Hanseth explains that the rail sector has a strong process-based tradition, i.e. working primarily from procedures, instructions and other documentation to carry out maintenance. But the world is changing and now more is expected of both machines and the people operating them. They need to work faster and smarter, and this also brings increased risk. Together with changes in regulations and general conditions, the whole sector has moved from just thinking about processes to include a more risk-based approach.
An important part of the work on safety and quality at Mantena lies in good risk analyses and safe job analyses (SJAs). Hanseth likes to view safe job analyses as an extra checklist to show that all of the required checks have been done.
“At Mantena, we have to have constant focus on all possible factors that could affect safety on the line. A SJA is there to help us to successfully judge whether the tasks we do all the time could affect safety. Our SJAs and risk analyses have many purposes; among other things, they should reflect the maintenance of the rolling stock, help us to notify our customers when necessary, and help to safeguard health, safety and the environment. An important factor is that our analyses are organised in a way that ensures we follow-up on previously identified hazards or risks.”
SJAs and first-line support
Having risk analyses as part of a management system is one thing; the challenge, says Hanseth, is to get people to use them in day-to-day work.
“Our risk analyses should be more than a tool for management. For us, it is important that all levels from mechanics and technicians to management should be proficient in using these tools. To encourage ownership and use, we have created a dedicated template. The SJAs have eight main areas depending on the area in which a risk assessment is to be carried out, and they ensure that the necessary areas are assessed. These points help us assess whether the work we do during maintenance could affect safety and ensure that assessment is consistent. Our SJAs are now used by both first-line staff and a wide range of mechanics, engineers and people in other roles.”
The human factor
Hanseth believes that the human factor will become even more important when it comes to risk assessments in the rail sector in years to come.
“With the changes that the rail sector faces, we can’t overlook the human factor in terms of seeing limitations and why unwanted incidents take place. The human factor will only grow in importance going forward. A high level of risk management at all levels is essential to ensure good deliveries, and of course to avoid unwanted incidents.”