Sydney Trains is a rail operator owned by the NSW Government which operates all suburban and inter-urban passenger rail services in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area. Sydney Trains conducts extensive maintenance and construction activity across the network each year.
As part of this activity, Sydney Trains Plant Hire Services Division has the responsibility for procuring and scheduling an extensive range of over 1500 pieces of specialised plant & equipment from a panel of more than 200 suppliers.
The significance of ensuring that plant meets minimum safety standards cannot be overstated and rail operators across the country have witnessed the catastrophic results of incidents involving inadequate or poorly maintained plant.
Prior to implementing their new system, Sydney Trains maintained a traditional plant & equipment safety inspection regime via a team of inspectors who assessed each piece of equipment on a rotating basis using a generic, paper based inspection process.
The Plant Hire Services inspection team found this process hard to manage for a number of reasons:
It relied heavily upon subjective judgements by inspectors who had different experience and training.
The manual process resulted in slow inspection times.
Generic nature of the inspections resulted in significant gaps of key information.
The variable and subjective nature of the assessments frustrated suppliers and led to a number of disagreements regarding the true safety status of certain machines.
Administration of the inspection reports was cumbersome due to the paper-based system. Filing the reports and following up on outstanding repairs was very manually intensive and time consuming.
Consequently, Sydney Trains’ management could not ensure the minimum standard for plant & equipment safety was being effectively upheld. This led to a determination that they required a more accurate, consistent and transparent system for conducting plant & equipment safety assessments.
Plant Assessor replaced the manual inspection system with its industry leading, cloud based safety inspection platform.
Further, Plant Assessor tailored the Sydney Trains platform to accommodate organisation specific safety requirements to ensure all equipment was suitable for work in the rail corridor, as well as adding specialised equipment used in the operations.
The Plant Assessor platform was also integrated with the existing Sydney Trains Plant Hire Services database so that inspections could be quickly and easily shared with suppliers.
This new integrated system, operating in real time, resulted in significant improvements, namely:
Improved Consistency: The Plant Assessor platform ensures inspections are consistent over time and between different inspectors.
Improved Accuracy: Plant Assessor ensures inspections are up to date with the latest developments in legislation, along with relevant technical and manufacturer standards.
Improved Mobility: Inspectors undertake inspections using tablet computers supplied by Plant Assessor, minimising paperwork and facilitating faster inspections.
Improved Transparency: All corrective actions identified during an inspection are able to be updated and managed online. This allows plant safety status to be checked 24/7 from anywhere.
Improved Collaboration: Plant Assessor allows the sharing of comprehensive inspection and safety information with the owner/supplier of each item of plant inspected. This information includes hazard details, risk ratings and risk treatments along with details of the required legal and manufacturers standards related to each risk treatment.
Sydney Trains has completely streamlined the way it engages, assesses and monitors its plant suppliers, further confirming it as a genuine leader in rail safety management.
The new system is easier, faster and negates any disagreements between the various parties involved in the supply of equipment.
Most importantly it makes working in the rail corridor and travelling on trains operated by Sydney Trains safer for everyone.
“The plant and equipment inspection regime we’ve implemented with the help of Plant Assessor led to significant improvements in the process,” explains Sydney Trains Manager of Plant Hire, Chris Adam.
“Plant Assessor was extremely thorough and consultative in their approach and took a true partnership approach to the project.
“The support we’ve received since the roll-out has been of a similar high standard,” he said.