In response to Lord Cullen’s recommendations from the Ladbroke Grove Inquiry, Railway Safety has now built up a team of human factors specialists. Their role is to provide expertise to the company in terms of human factors research, as well as providing input to the development of Railway Group Standards. More widely, the human factors team acts as an information resource for the railway industry. Finally, they also provide input for relevant formal inquiries.
The human factors team strategy is therefore divided into four main areas:
To develop a programme that supports the objectives of the Railway Group Safety Plan, establishes the baseline information required to develop human factors effectively in the railway industry and is prioritised to optimise use of limited resources.
To develop a robust approach to human factors integration with short-term prioritisation of key human factors areas for safety impact.
Empowering the industry
In short, the main aim of the human factors team is to help improve safety and efficiency in the railway industry.
The human factors team at Railway Safety is led by Richard Evans, Head of Operations and Human Factors. There are currently three members of the team:
Dr Ann Mills
Ann is a Chartered Psychologist who graduated from Cranfield University with an MSc and PhD in Applied Psychology. Ann worked at Cranfield University as a Senior Researcher for six years during which time she carried out internationally funded work in the area of human behaviour in emergency situations. Ann joined Railway Safety in March 2001, and her primary responsibility is to co-ordinate the team’s input into Railway Safety’s research programme.
Dr Mark Young
Mark studied for a BSc in Psychology at the University of Southampton. He then stayed on as a research assistant working on two major projects with the motor industry. Alongside these, Mark was working part-time on a PhD in Cognitive Ergonomics. His doctoral research concentrated on the effects of vehicle automation on driver attention and mental workload, in particular the detrimental effects of underload on performance. On graduating in 2000, Mark took up a post-doctoral research fellowship at Brunel University. While there, he worked on a major European project developing a human factors certification process for civil flight decks. He has recently been admitted as a Registered Member of the Ergonomics Society. Mark joined Railway Safety in October 2001, and his primary responsibility in the team is to coordinate the human factors input into Railway Group Standards.
Louise is an independent Human Factors Advisor specialising in behavioural risk. Her key practice areas include safety culture interventions, the identification and management of human error, and the prevention of procedural violations in the workplace. Recent projects in these areas have included: Louise has a BA in Applied Psychology and an MSc in Human Factors Ergonomics with Human Computer Interaction, and is a Graduate Member of the Ergonomics Society. She is a part-time specialist in the human factors team, where her role is to coordinate the communication of human factors issues to the industry, as well as providing human factors expertise at formal inquiries.
Katie graduated from Cranfield University in 2000 with an MSc in Applied Psychology. Her thesis project was undertaken for Transport Canada in the field of aviation passenger safety and evacuation. Katie continued to work within the Human Factors group at Cranfield in a research role undertaking further work in aviation safety with a number of airlines and aviation authorities, she was also involved in a number of passenger evacuation trial simulator studies.
Katie then went on to work as an Occupational Psychologist for Centrex (formerly National Police Training) in a Consultancy role primarily in the field of selection, assessment and training. Katie was involved in providing training to police officers and support staff in assessment and selection methodologies and practises and also worked on the design and validation of exercises used within police promotion examinations in England and Wales and for the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Katie joined the Human Factors team at Railway Safety in October 2002 as a Human Factors Specialist and is currently working towards becoming a Chartered Occupational Psychologist. Katie is currently working on accident survivability projects in addition to projects relating to driver selection and future selection requirements.
A significant programme of research has been initiated in order to promote the understanding and application of human factors within the Railway Group. The output of this programme will be a significant and demonstrable contribution to the Railway Group Safety Plan objectives.