Information published on 25 October 2011 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 262.

2011 UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly (Barcelona, Spain from 5 – 7 October 2011)

The annual UIMC (International Union of Railway Medical Services) congress was hosted by Catalan regional operator FGC and their medical service from 5 to 7 October 2011 in Barcelona. The congress was opened by FGC Director-General Mr Pere Calvet and FGC Chief Medical Officer in charge of Prevention and Safety Dr Esteve Martin Casellas.

The UIMC General Assembly was held during the congress on 7 October 2011. 25 members sent 38 representatives to Barcelona.

The UIMC Management Committee was also held during the afternoon of 4 and morning of 5 October in its previous composition:

  • Chairman: Dr P A Voumard, SBB
  • General Secretary: Dr C Cothereau, SNCF
  • Vice-Chairman: Dr G Palma, FS
  • Treasurer: Dr O Foss, NSB
  • Other members: Dr M Tucek, CD; Dr V K Ramteke, IR; Dr D Whelan, CIE

Following the elections held under the statutes of the General Assembly on 7 October 2011, the following members were either reappointed or newly-elected to the Management Committee:

  • Chairman: Dr P A Voumard, SBB
  • General Secretary: Dr C Cothereau, SNCF
  • Vice-Chairman: Dr G Palma
  • Treasurer: Dr O Foss, NSB
  • Other members: Dr M Tucek, CD; Dr V K Ramteke, IR; Dr H Burggraaff, NS; Dr C Gravert, DB; Dr L Vantrappen, SNCB

Candidates who had previously expressed an interest in joining UIMC – that is Israel Railways, Turkish Railways and Union Pacific Railroad – did not formalise their requests for admission. Various Asian networks had been approached via Dr Ramteke (IR) to try to convince them of the value of joining UIMC so as to build an international UIMC presence.

During the congress, two of Barcelona’s leading experts in psychiatry and neurology shared their experience on post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy relating to aptitude criteria. Mr Peter Gerhardt, Head of UIC Safety Unit, presented the Safety Unit’s activities and projects. Mr Olaf Mette, Senior Project Officer for Interoperability at ERA (European Railway Agency), explained to the members present the content of EU Directive 2007/59/EC on the introduction of a European locomotive driver’s licence. In addition, one of UIMC’s members PMA (Dutch company Polikliniek Mens en Arbeid) was mandated to update the vade mecum of criteria for medical aptitude, established by UIMC in 2000.

A questionnaire on the use of alcohol and illegal drugs for staff carrying out safety-critical duties was also the subject of discussion among members. This questionnaire will be distributed by the end of the year to the HR directors of CER member railways, following which the answers will be discussed again at the UIMC/CER working group.

The technical visit was to the traffic control centre and the maintenance and repair workshops in Rubi, north of Barcelona. The attending members familiarised themselves with the Montserrat rack-and-pinion railway and its technical constraints.

The gala dinner was held in the magnificent setting of Barcelona’s port, and was attended by FGC Chairman of the Board of Directors Mr Tico.

The Scientific Congress provided an opportunity for a detailed exchange of relevant information on both transport and occupational medicine. The following presentations were delivered:

  • Suicides, aggressions and post-traumatic stress. Prof Dr Gabriel Martí (Barcelona)
  • Epilepsy and driving. Prof Dr Jaume Burcet (Barcelona)
  • Effectiveness of Sleep Hygiene Education. Dr Misuro Kakinuma (EJR)
  • The 2011 East Japan Earthquake: Damage and Restoration. Dr Yasutoshi Yugucchi (EJR)
  • Research for evidence based policy on occupational health issues in Indian Railways. Dr Vijay Kumar Ramteke (IR)
  • Reasons for professional inability during periodical examinations. Dr Pierre-Albert Voumard (SBB/CFF)
  • Toward an integrated evaluation of the “psychical basis skills” in the medical assess¬ment of the railway personnel engaged in safety related activities.
  • Dr Gennaro Palma, Dr Franco Amore, Dr Gianluca Ceccarelli (RFI)
  • Exposure assessment at work: Objective tool for health risk assessment in practice. Dr Milan Tucek (CD)
  • Fire in the Simplon tunnel (9 June, 2011), from the point of view of occupational health and hygiene. Dr Thomas Amport, Dr John-Gabriel Fénix (SBB/CFF)

The next UIMC Management Committee meeting will be held in Paris on 27 April 2012.

The 2012 annual UIMC Scientific Congress and General Assembly will take place in Finland at the invitation of VR (Finnish Railways), probably in Helsinki in autumn 2012.

For more information please contact Dr Pierre Voumard, UIMC Chairman: pierre-albert.voumard@sbb.ch and Meryem Belhaj, UIC Senior Advisor International Training & Human Factors at the Safety Unit: belhaj@uic.org