image description

Transportation quality strategy

Russian Railways shares its experience in organizing a traffic safety management system with Armenian railway workers
image description

Russian Railways together with its Corporate University organized a week-long training course for the management of South Caucasus Railway (a subsidiary company of Russian Railways, the concession operator of Armenian railways). A seminar held on May 18 under the guidance of Shevket Shaidullin, Russian Railways’ Deputy Director General & Head of the Traffic Safety Department, was focused, among other topics, on the development and support of the traffic safety management system in the railway transport infrastructure.

Shevket Shaidullin began his opening remarks by saying that today Russian Railways is steadily taking the lead among the world's railway administrators in terms of the safety of infrastructure services. Railways also remain the safest mean of transport in Russia.

In order to reduce the level of accidents in its network, Russian Railways has approved the Strategy of Guaranteed Safety and Reliability of the Transportation Process until 2030. The holding company annually forms a roadmap based on this document. Thus, in 2021, the level of transport accidents decreased by 8%, human injuries in the train traffic area - by 2%, and the number of accidents at railway crossings - by 1%.

These results became possible thanks to the well-coordinated work of the safety management system.

During the seminar, employees of Russian Railways’ Traffic Safety Department told representatives of South Caucasus Railway about the main components of this system, including a risk-oriented approach, up-to-date technologies for monitoring infrastructure facilities, as well as the management of investigations and increasing the safety culture maturity level.

Risk assessment

“The risk-focused approach is defined as the ability to systematically identify potential hazards, assess possibility of their occurrence and take corrective action,” noted Shevket Shaidullin.

According to Konstantin Gorbunov, head of the Situation Center for Emergencies Monitoring and Management, a structural subdivision of Russian Railways, one of the tools of this approach is factor analysis. It is based on a review of factors influencing the risk of a transport accident, which makes it possible to determine deviations in the operations of individual companies at an early stage.

The level of risk is divided into four categories - unacceptable, undesirable, acceptable and negligible.

The first category includes situations when more than 60% of the key indicators signal an unacceptable level of risk, the second category - when more than 40% of the key indicators signal an undesirable level of risk. Acceptable risks are situations when more than 60% of the key indicators imply an acceptable level of risk, and the last category is when 0% of the key indicators signal an unacceptable level of risk.

In this context, each level has its own sequence of actions - from an audit response in case of unacceptable risk and process-owners audit in case of undesirable risk to the facilities condition monitoring in case of negligent risk.

Modern approach

Modern technologies play an important role in the safety control system of the holding company's network.

As an example, Alexey Roslovets, Head of the Infrastructure Diagnostics and Monitoring Department of Russian Railways’ Central Infrastructure Directorate, cited unmanned aerial vehicles intended for monitoring the infrastructure state. With 28 such vehicles at its disposal, the holding company has already surveyed in 2022 more than 600 facilities with a total length of over 360 km (as compared with 296.2 km planned).

Diagnostic tools also include spatial scanning, georadiolocation and integrated video surveillance systems.

“For the development of the Unified Corporate Automated Infrastructure Management System, algorithms of diagnostics information transfer by mobile means (listed above, - Ed.) are being developed today to provide comprehensive assessment of infrastructure, including the earthwork. Our target is to switch to the system of physical assets management through a data analytics diagnostics system,” said Alexey Roslovets. 

Learning from mistakes

According to Shevket Shaidullin, another component of the system that ensures traffic safety is investigation management. It examines the cause-and-effect relationship of an accident and identifies steps to eliminate the consequences. The information obtained also makes it possible to minimize the recurrence of such cases in the holding company’s infrastructure in the future.

Traffic safety violations are recorded using a subsystem of automated recording and control of investigation of traffic safety violations occurred.

Special attention in accident investigation is paid to the human factor, which consists of two elements - active failures (personnel error) and latent conditions (erroneous action of an employee due to a low level of maintenance and support).

Thus, in the first quarter of 2022 there were 480 traffic safety violations in Russian Railways’ network (580 in the same period last year). Of these, 65 violations were caused by human factor (77% of this number were due to active failures).

“By identifying the causes of incidents we understand in what direction we should develop”, Alyona Gapeeva, a leading expert of the Division of Normative and Technical Regulation and Interdepartmental Interaction of Russian Railways’ Traffic Safety Department, noted in her speech.

A system to assess knowledge

According to Alyona Gapeeva, Russian Railways’ management provides personnel training and develops the culture of safety in order to decrease the level of active failures. Thus, according to the holding company’s data, the safety culture maturity level of its personnel was assessed in 2021 at 3.89 (3.80 in 2020).

To this end, the company regularly conducts employee certification, knowledge audits related to train service and shunting operations, quizzes on technical operation rules, and psychophysiological testing of traffic management employees. These activities are held using the Corporate Automated System for Knowledge Assessment of Russian Railways employees.

This system is planned for further development in 2022-2023, including the organization of video monitoring of certification, adapting the interface for mobile devices and conducting unscheduled certification of employees responsible for technical equipment failures.

At the end of the seminar Alexei Melnikov, General Director of South Caucasus Railway, thanked the staff of Russian Railways represented by Shevket Shaidullin for the information provided. According to Alexei Melnikov, the train traffic safety system of the Armenian railways network introduced in 2009 has shown its effectiveness; however it needs evolution, additional tools and measures.

“Today our company has reached a kind of plateau - the number of failures is at the same level on average - and changes in the approach is the only way to shift the system. We will make adjustments for local conditions; however, the foundation that has already been developed by Russian Railways will help us reach a qualitatively new level in train traffic safety issues,” concluded Alexei Melnikov.
Anna Yakusheva

20 june 2022

Read next content