Information published on 10 July 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 148.

« Human Factors and Technological Innovations » Seminar (Paris, 23-24 June)

  • Human Factors

The « Human Factors and Technological Innovations » Seminar organised by the UIC Safety Platform and Human Factors Team on 23-24 June last brought together some sixty participants from the following member companies : SBB, SNCF, DB AG, DB AG Training, DB Fernverkehr AG, Network Rail, Nederlandse Spoorwegen, PKP POLSKIE LINIE KOLEJOWE SA, ANSF, RSSB, ONCF, NRIC, BDZ, Eurostar UK, CFR SA.
Opening the meeting, UIC Chief Executive J.P. Loubinoux welcomed all the delegates and briefed them on latest developments and changes at UIC.
M. Belhaj (UIC) recalled that any technological innovation must necessarily integrate Organisational and Human Factors. While technology and technological innovation were clearly central to economic development, technology ceaselessly called entrenched situations into question, which implied the need to anticipate such transformations and prepare for the upheavals induced by them. Thought must therefore be given to the players involved and to the risks that innovating technologies (new skills, new work organisations, new communications tools, etc…) can generate.
The programme for this two-day meeting was structured around four sessions:

Session 1, chaired by P. De Cicco (UIC) focused on the Human Dimensions of ERTMS

P. Winter, ERTMS Consultant (Switzerland) explained ERTMS developments over the past 20 years and went on to describe progress made and related issues raised in connection with the Human Factors. J.G. Fénix (SBB Medical Service) then presented the results of a feasibility study entitled « Human Factors and quality » linked to ERTMS development. Closing the session, E. Buseyne (Technical Engineer at UIC), described the impacts of an innovative signalling system on Man.

Session 2, chaired by C. Neveu (SNCF), focused on the Human dimensions of centralised network control (CCR) systems.
J. Thürler and P. Fivaz (SBB), respectively CEL (Lausanne Train Control Centre) Project Manager and Unit Manager, set out the consequences which this new organisation can have for Man in the workplace. Y. Mortureux (SNCF/UIC) supplemented their presentation by an explanation of the many impacts of technological innovations on work organisation and railway personnel, particularly staff in infrastructure-related jobs.
At the end of Session 2, and by way of introduction to the Round Table, V. Papillault and MN. Obrist, respectively Human Factors experts at UIC and SNCF, showed how the Human Factors could be integrated into the design phase of technological innovations, using practical and concrete examples taken from SNCF for the purpose.

The Round Table, jointly moderated by C. Neveu and Y. Mortureux, provided an opportunity to respond to a whole range of questions from the floor concerning ERTMS and CCR in particular.

Session 3, focused on the theme of New technologies and life in the workplace, was chaired by S. Fletcher (UIC).
S. Fletcher addressed the theme of mobile phones, which he illustrated using the US experience in the field of safety management and quoting a case study based on the accident of 12 September 2008 in California. He went on to present the communication tools developed in the wake of this accident.
S. Fletcher next gave a status report on work carried out by the “Occupational Health and Safety Group” of the UIC Safety Platform.

C. Humbert, Production Unit Manager at SNCF, shared his managerial experience as regards the impact of new technologies on Man and more particularly on the management of the interaction between private sphere and professional sphere.

This Session ended with a presentation by P. Fouchet and S. Boussemart, respectively Manager of the Lille CFPT Training Centre and trainee at this same centre, who explained the relevance of using simulators for training purposes, followed by a review of the integration of the Human Factors into the driver training process.
Session 3, chaired by M. Belhaj, provided an opportunity to reconcile sustainable development and the Human Factors. H. Schwarz, UIC Environment and Sustainable Development Coordinator, underscored the essential role played by motivation and communication in the process of achieving and optimising sustainable development. The process was all about involving Men/Women and motivating them into improving environmental performance. Today’s challenge was concerned with the integration of the Human factors into this approach.
Lastly P. Wilbers, Senternovem Project Manager, addressed the question of the contribution which train drivers can make to reducing energy consumption through eco-driving.

This seminar will have succeeded in bringing together technical experts and specialists in the field of human and social sciences. Y. Mortureux closed the proceedings by pointing out that any technological innovation, whether of railway or societal in origin, was bound to impact in multiple ways on the working of the rail system. Skills and trades were changing, and likewise the behaviour of operators/maintenance people/managers. Simply guaranteeing the technical reliability of an installation in the hope of achieving the expected safety level was no longer sufficient.
The experiences shared over this two-day seminar confirmed the importance of analysing the Human Factors from the very start of a project to ensure delivery of the very highest safety standards expected of us by customers. The different contributors also stressed the need closely to involve both Engineers and Human Factors experts throughout the duration of the project.

For more information please contact Virginie Papillault: papillault@uic.org