RAILTRACK IS pinning hopes for improved track worker safety on a new internet-based recruitment system for possession work.
The Staffzone database stops workers from putting in too many hours by marking them unavailable once they have clocked up a certain amount of time in a week. It also checks that workers have enough experience and that the track teams' individual skills match those of particular possession jobs.
Introduction of Staffzone comes after six track workers died in the 17 months to January this year (NCE 17 January).
The system is linked to data held on Sentinel photo-identity cards detailing a track worker's current experience, which they have to show to contractors on site before starting work.
Staffzone is based around a secure internet site developed by e-business consultant Net Engines. Maintenance contractors can access data from their labour agency suppliers and use Staffzone to match worker skills to particular jobs.
Contractors will also be able to access information about worker availability and book them for work.
Staffzone then sends a message to agency databases to classify workers as unavailable for other work. This will stop the practice of workers agreeing to work for more than one contractor, failing to turn up for the lowest paid job.
The system has already been trialled successfully on the southern section of the West Coast Main Line.
INFOPLUS www. nceplus.co.uk/rail Track workers will soon be booked on the net.