May 25, 2011
Prasa moves to align safety strategy with skills developmentBack
Engineering|Johannesburg|Soweto|Tshwane|Africa|Metrorail|Safety|System|Africa|South Africa|Equipment|Service|Mosenngwa Mofi|Rail|Tshepo Lucky Montana
© Reuse this
Following two recent train accidents, in Tshwane and Soweto, where the latter resulted in 857 commuters being injured, he said that skills development was a “clear and high priority”.
“Prasa is spending R97-billion on a rail rolling-stock programme over the next 18 years – we can have new equipment, trains and technology, but investment in safety would be further complemented and more effective though investment in ensuring that workers are properly trained and that we have the right skills.
“We have relatively young drivers – most of them skilled but not experienced. Skills development remains key for our drivers, as well as retaining experienced engineers and artisans,” he told Engineering News Online.
Montana added that the global shortage of rail engineers continued to be a challenge for Prasa, which resorted to ‘poaching’ from industry. In 2010, there were about 300 engineers working at Prasa, and this increased to 408 in 2011.
In response to the two accidents, the rail agency would also be reviewing current driver training programmes to find a balance between route knowledge and the technical aspects of train driving. “Before qualifying as a train driver, recruits must first become Metro guards and/or have extensive knowledge of the rail operating environment," Prasa Rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said.
Metrorail, which operates 2 200 trains a day and commutes about 2,4-million passengers daily, employs 1 108 train drivers across South Africa, with an average age of 35.
“Training for drivers lasts 18 months. Despite a lack of confidence that may exist in the public, I want to reinforce that drivers are trained adequately and it is up to management to review and ensure that drivers are obeying the rules and that they respect the safety environment,” Montana said.
Prasa would also be looking into the recruitment of a select number of retired train drivers on a short-term basis to serve as mentors to new train drivers.
COMPENSATION FOR INJURED COMMUNTERS
The “reckless and negligent” driver involved in the accident in Soweto on May 19, was identified as being responsible for the accident, and was dismissed earlier this week, Montana told journalists in Johannesburg.
The driver was found to have been driving at 85 km/h in a 35/h-km zone, with the speed at impact reduced to 33 km/h, and to have ignored two danger signals.
Prasa has allocated R20-million for the commuters injured in the train accidents in Tshwane and Soweto. Payment to commuters would start on May 30.
A once-off payment of R7 500 would be paid to injured commuters, and up to R10 000 for commuters with serious injuries. Eighteen of the 857 commuters injured in the Soweto incident were still receiving treatment in hospital.
The agency has set up walk-in offices at the Johannesburg Park station and Orlando station, while the office at the Tshwane office has already been opened.
In November, the agency would be introducing a commuter insurance cover, based on a no fault system, to all valid train ticket holders injured or killed in train accidents.
Commuters trying to defraud the system would be arrested, Montana warned.
Strengthening its human factor management programme was also identified, and all drivers who have violated safety rules in the past three to six months would be withdrawn from service and undergo refresher training courses.
Six drivers were currently participating in the refresher training courses and 19 drivers are currently facing disciplinary hearings for offences ranging from speeding to passing signals at danger.
The accident in Soweto resulted in R30-million damage to rolling-stock.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Rail News
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 5 hours ago While Ekurhuleni-based transformer manufacturer Reliable Transformers currently designs, manufactures and tests its products according to the SANS 780 specifications for distribution transformers and other applicable transformer specifications, it is working towards...
Updated 5 hours ago Global endpoint security solutions company Kaspersky Lab has introduced new measures to prevent cyber criminals from accessing sensitive data, alongside its malware-signature and heuristic device analysis detection methods. Threats to mobile devices have increased...
Updated 5 hours ago To ensure uptake and a positive impact, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) networks in cities must be provided at schools, community centres and commercial centres to enable citizens and government to access information that will improve access to and delivery of services....
Updated 5 hours ago Eco-estate Monaghan Farm, located near Lanseria airport, north-west of Johannesburg, has taken a new approach to modern living and sustainability with its 517 ha development, dedicated to farm living.
Updated 5 hours ago Forklift and lift-truck distributor Goscor Lift Hi-Reach launched the Genie SX-180, the tallest self-propelled super boom in Africa, in Johannesburg last month. “As the official distributor of the well-known Genie range of equipment in Southern Africa, we are pleased...