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SPAD Awareness Week


NEWS UPDATE 31.10.2022

SPAD Awareness Week

SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger) Awareness Week runs from 30 October to 5 November and is designed to remind all rail operators, Network Controllers and rail traffic crew of the factors they can control to avoid a SPAD

SPAD Awareness Week teaser

Arc Infrastructure is proud to be part of SPAD Awareness Week, in partnership with our above-rail operators and below-rail counterpart.

SPAD (Signal Passed At Danger) Awareness Week runs from 30 October to 5 November and is designed to remind all rail operators, Network Controllers and rail traffic crew of the factors they can control to avoid a SPAD. A SPAD occurs when a train passes the limit of their authority, and is a potential cause of accidents on the rail network. 

Arc is partnering with above-rail and below-rail operators – ARTC, Aurizon, Pacific National, SCT Logistics, Transwa; and Watco – to raise awareness and reduce the number of SPADs that occur on the network so everyone goes home safely.

This year SPAD Awareness Week has a focus on training, to ensure the skills and knowledge necessary to reduce SPAD incidents are embedded across the organisations and all rail employees on the network. Arc has worked closely with above-rail operators and the in-house Network Control team to ensure the message is shared with operators during SPAD Awareness Week. The aim is to ensure the lessons of the week are continued through the year.

For its part, Arc is upskilling its workforce, including Network Controllers, through its in-house training provider. Arc has dedicated resources to review and update the Certificate IV in Network Rail. Arc is planning to launch a new induction program next year that includes simulations to ensure Network Controllers are tested in safe environments on unusual or high risk situations. 

A Training Forum will be held for all the above-rail and below-rail operators during SPAD Awareness Week to share knowledge and information. The knowledge and information sharing will include details on training initiatives from across the various the organisations used to build competency in train drivers and Network Controllers to help prevent SPADs.
The key themes for drivers this year are around three behaviours – I look, I say, I do.
  • I look to check and verify all signals and signs – this is about being aware and encouraging responsiveness to what is around the drivers.
  • I say aloud the actions that will be taken to stop short of a known stopping point – speaking aloud is a reminder method, which aids in recollection.
  • I do perform positive and physical action – reinforces the importance of the driver taking control  over the vehicle and connects ‘look’ and ‘say’ with actions required to prevent a SPAD.
Using these messages SPAD awareness week aims to start conversations and remind rail employees of the factors they can control to avoid a SPAD. The week also highlights how important communications between on-rail operators and below-rail Network Controllers are in reducing SPADs.

The following factors have been identified as important in reducing and stopping SPAD incidents:
  • Mobile phones – the use of mobile phones in a locomotive can be a major source of distraction. Train drivers are being reminded of their company’s policy around mobile phone usage.
  • Fatigue – studies show that rail traffic crew have slower reaction time, more instances of extreme speeding, more braking errors and penalty braking when fatigued. We’re asking train drivers to speak up and contact Network Control if they’re feeling tired on the network.
  • Distraction – train driving can be monotonous and there are external factors outside the locomotive that can shift a driver’s focus. Research has shown that between 50–75% of SPADs have distraction as a cause. We will be talking about personal strategies train drivers can put in place for areas where they may get distracted, or at certain times of the day.
Arc thanks the above-rail and below-rail operators for their continued support of the initiative. Arc is committed to continue to work with rail operators and regulators to ensure the safety of our rail traffic crew and the rail network.

Arc Infrastructure and the above-rail operators have produced a series of posters and merchandise which will be distributed to operational employees to help start conversations on SPAD prevention.

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