ORR's new online learning platform for RM3 is the focus of this podcast. Designed by Premier IT, we created the eLearning platform in collaboration with industry professionals from across the railway, including Network Rail, the Rail Safety and Standards Board, the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, East Midlands Railway which represent the train operating companies, and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, IOSH.
We're joined by some of those involved in its development and subsequent rollout - Mark Griffiths, Manager of SMS Policy and RM3 at ORR, Laurence Medina, Principal Safety and Security Culture Specialist with Network Rail, Ed Hodson, chair of IOSH Railway Group, and Tavid Dobson, Lead SMS Specialist at RSSB.
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Host, Kenny Walker: Hello, I'm Kenny Walker and this is The Rail and Road Pod. I hope you're all doing well and had a wonderful summer. We are back with the Rail and Road Podcast after what's been a busy few months for ORR. We've recently published our annual report on health and safety on Britain's railways, our annual rail consumer report, annual assessments of Network Rail and of National Highways, reports on HS1 and HS2, and that's not to mention publishing a number of informative blogs, consultations and official railway statistical releases.
Amongst all that we launched a new online learning platform for health and safety professionals to gain a further understanding of how to use the industry's Risk Management Maturity Model, also known as RM3.
This new online learning platform for RM3 is the focus of this pod. Designed by Premier IT, ORR created the eLearning platform in collaboration with industry professionals from across the railway, including Network Rail, the Rail Safety and Standards Board, the Light Rail Safety and Standards Board, East Midlands Railway which represent the train operating companies, and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, IOSH.
To discuss RM3 and the eLearning platform in more detail and why it's needed, I'm delighted to be joined by some of those involved in its development and subsequent rollout. Joining us today are Mark Griffiths, Manager of SMS Policy and RM3 at ORR, Laurence Medina, Principal Safety and Security Culture Specialist with Network Rail, Ed Hodson, chair of IOSH Railway Group, and Tavid Dobson, Lead SMS Specialist at RSSB.
Kenny: So let's start with Mark. Thanks for joining us, Mark. First of all, can you just explain quickly to listeners your role within ORR, and then maybe we can get into the detail about the driving force behind RM3 and why it was needed?
Mark Griffiths: Yes, certainly. Thank you, Kenny. My role within ORR is the Manager for SMS Policy and RM3, so really looking at working with the industry about developing their safety management systems, really looking at how they can continuously improve them. That's really where RM3 can really help our operators in that journey.
Kenny: How's the rollout going so far with the eLearning platform?
Mark: Yes, it's gone really great. We launched on the 29th of June. Since then, we've had just under 600 users, the majority of which, over 86% are from the UK. We have noticed users from countries such as across the globe, countries such as Argentina, Australia, the Middle East, and Asia. It's really rewarding on a daily basis to see people on social media posting their certificates which really brings home the importance and the need for the eLearning for RM3.
Kenny: Thanks, Mark. So yeah, getting a worldwide audience for the new eLearning platform. If I bring in Ed from IOSH to give us an idea of the role you've played in this, the role of IOSH in developing RM3.
Edward Hodson: Yes, Kenny. IOSH has a specialist railway group, which I'm the chair but all the chairs, they rotate, have been key drivers in supporting RM3 from their experience in the industry. We also have representatives on the committee from the regulator who also gives us the different perspective which is really useful for us. IOSH, has, as I said, been on the RM3 Governance Board from its inception and continues to support that. Also, we've been included in the training subgroup to help develop the training.
Kenny: Okay, so you've been involved with RM3 from the onset and involved with the training from the very beginning from helping getting that set up. How does IOSH, in your eyes, Ed, plan to further support the rail industry as this is being rolled out further?
Ed: So how we can promote this further? IOSH is a worldwide safety body and we have the opportunity to spread the word through our own media from the Rail Group's LinkedIn site, IOSH webinars, or events where we're always trying to include RM3 recognising the importance and effectiveness of it. We also have a chairs' newsletter that goes out every couple of months that we can also update any new developments. I think having a worldwide audience certainly has helped in that respect from our own feedback.
Kenny: Okay, thanks, Ed, that's interesting, particularly on the worldwide audience aspect of it, and maybe that's part of the reason, what's driving some traffic to ORR's site for the eLearning module. Laurence Medina has also joined us today from Network Rail. Laurence, can you give us your role within Network Rail and maybe explain about how the role of RM3 and the new eLearning platform has been received by the staff?
Laurence Medina: Yes. Hello. For Network Rail, I am in charge of the safety and security culture, which means that my job is to make sure that everyone in Network Rail, every region and every function, is actually working on a programme to improve our safety culture. By culture, we particularly talk about leadership behaviours, about psychological culture. We want everyone to feel safe to speak up, safe to challenge each other, and in fact, safe to look after each other and take care of each other. That includes; include everyone, D&I, mental well-being because if we have unhealthy distractions or unhealthy noise in our head, we are distracted and we are unsafe. RM3 obviously is going to help us to put a framework around safety and therefore what kind of safety culture we have and how we can improve it.
In terms of the staff at Network Rail, I think it has been welcomed quite well, but progressively, and I think in particular, as a framework, as a clear structure. The eLearning in particular, it's going to help to explain the difference between I am free as a tool and all the tools that we have in the company and how they can all complement each other. I think this was something maybe that was not clear until now and the eLearning is going to help.
Kenny: Obviously, the learning platform it's still early days from its launch. How does Network Rail plan to roll this out further to staff in the future?
Laurence: The Health and Safety department, it's obviously our job to promote it. We've been working around our community of practice throughout the company to promote it, identify key members of staff who will become specialists in it and will help to promote it. We are creating workshops around it.
We also are going to get the help from our trade union representatives, some of which are actually health and safety specialists to, first of all, be up to date with it and then promote it to their members and really create the simulation around it. I suppose, in time, also help us to constantly review the way, within the company, we can use it to the best of its capacity and to add the most value to our safety.
Kenny: Thanks very much, Laurence. Bringing in Tavid who has joined us from RSSB. Tavid, can you just explain RSSB's role in RM3?
Tavid Dobson: Yes. Good morning. RSSB has a unique position in the rail industry providing objective data, analysis, and research. We aim to both encourage, enable, and harness collaboration to address issues of common concerns so that all benefit from increased safety and sustainability performance.
We work in a planned way with consultation with our member companies in the wider industry, and the idea is get a whole industry benefit for everyone. I guess we work as an industry support network in some ways. I think one way of looking at it is RM3 sets out the criteria of what a mature and capable rail company looks like. RSSB aims to provide guidance and support on how to achieve this.
Kenny: Thanks, Tavid. RSSB on RM3 isn't a new thing and you worked on the refresh of RM3 in 2019. Can you give us an idea of what the key changes are in 2022, which obviously includes the new eLearning platform?
Tavid: I think the main significant change of the new model is that it now recognises that culture is a key enabler that underpins all the RM3 criteria. RM3 model is not exclusively about a system for managing health and safety, it's a focus on establishing how well an organisation understands and applies the health and safety system, increasing the effectiveness of an organisation's capability and maturity therefore requires a focus on changing in behaviours and attitudes; changes in a company's culture. That's the biggest significant change.
Kenny: Thanks, Tavid. I guess just to wrap things up here, and I'll open this question out to everyone who wants to chip in with an answer, from an operational perspective, can you explain about the importance RM3 is to passenger train operators?
Ed: Yes. I wouldn't mind answering some part of that-
Kenny: Okay, Ed.
Ed: -because even though when I was in freight, I was part of what were the Rail Delivery Group and had a good involvement with the passenger operators. Lots of the protocols relating to passenger operations were specifically designed by a former chair of the IOSH Railway Group who had a great deal of experience as a director in passenger operations. RM3 was really key to the development of the safety management system so it was a really effective tool when it came in. It was actually introduced by a former director in passengers. The effectiveness is really key to passenger operations, as much as the rest of the industry.
Kenny: Anybody else want to come in on that one?
Laurence: I was thinking also from a cultural point of view, other than the criteria in the tool that have to do with passenger communication, for example, from a cultural point of view, if our colleagues have the right culture and display the right culture of caring for each other, they will necessarily role model and they will necessarily also look after our passengers, challenge when they feel that passengers are not treated safely one way or the other, and not as we have seen in the press in some instances in the past, not just stick to standards for what they are, but actually use their caring behaviour to treat passengers the way they deserve and the way they need individually.
Kenny: Thanks, Laurence. Maybe just to wrap that point up on the operation perspective and the train operators, maybe, Mark, could you explain how this is being rolled out to staff at the passenger train operators?
Mark: Yes, certainly, Kenny. If we start first of all within ourselves at ORR, we've made it mandatory training for everybody within our railway safety directorate to complete the eLearning. Equally, what we are seeing across the passenger sector, along with the freight sector, is a lot of organisations are also looking to use the eLearning as their introduction to the model, to their workforce. The way that we've designed the eLearning is really key to enabling that flexibility in terms of how organisations can introduce their teams to the model.
For example, the eLearning has been split into four separate modules. The first module is called Introduction to RM3. That's been designed by ourselves with other key rail industry partners, on today's podcast as well, in terms of allowing an organisation to decide which elements of the eLearning is applicable to their staff. For example, Introduction to RM3 is a really good module where anybody can watch that and really can get a key understanding of what is RM3 and what benefits they can bring to the company they work for. In essence, a lot of companies are adding the links to the modules through their learning management systems and then enabling their teams then to go through the programme as they see fit.
Kenny: Thanks, Mark, that wraps it up nicely. There you have it, folks, a fine example of a collaborative approach across the rail industry. Not only develop an RM3 as a tool to help assist organisations to manage health and safety risks and identify areas for improvement, but also provide a benchmark for year-on-year comparison. There's also been collaboration in developing ORR's new eLearning platform that allows users to gain a full end-to-end understanding of how RM3 works and how to apply it to an organisation.
That brings to a close another episode of The Rail and Road Pod. Thanks to all today's guests and to all of you for listening. If you want any further details on RM3 and the new e-learning platform, visit orr.gov.uk. That's all for now, until next time, thanks for listening, and goodbye.