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News & Views from the RTBU NSW Locomotive Division

Spanish train driver cops bad press for standing up for safety

Oct 19, 2016News
A Spanish train driver left his post mid-route this week because he reached the legal limit on the number of hours he could work. In Spain the legal shift length is set at six hours straight to prevent fatigue and avoid accidents.
The incident left 100 passengers stranded and made the international labelled the driver the ‘worst train driver ever’ in their original headline for the article.
A spokesperson from the Semaf train drivers union said “it is not because he decided to leave to go home,” and pointed out that there was no other driver available to take over.
It’s extremely unfair that the driver in question has copped a lot of slack for simply standing up for his safety and the safety of commuters and sticking to the rules. After all, safety should ALWAYS come first.
What would have happened if the driver had of kept driving and there had been an incident? The employer, press and government would have blamed the driver for exceeding the six hour limit.
Instead of attacking the driver, he should be commended for making the safety of passengers and the system his priority.
Here in Australia we are seeing in Australia both passenger and freight employers asking and expecting drivers to exceed shift limits as a result of staff cuts, cutting rostered relief from rosters, relying on overtime and simply displaying their inability to properly manage rosters.
Maximum shift limits should always be enforced as safety should never be compromised irrespective of management KPIs and failure to manage.
What would you have done in that situation? Let us know by leaving a comment.

4 Comments to “Spanish train driver cops bad press for standing up for safety”

  • I have done the same thing. Offloaded passengers mid journey in order to return to depot before expiry of legislated shift limit. The employer is responsible for rostering and we are all told the mantra of Safety First and Zero Harm. As a front line service delivery operator it is my responsibility to ensure I do not place myself or others at risk due to fatigue. This is a responsibility that must be taken seriously. If any incident occurs that can be attributed to working excessive hours the operator will be blamed. The employer should not place any demand on an operator to exceed working limits since they would then be legally liable for any consequences. We can also lose our license and livelihood and I for one will not place that at risk simply to avoid inconveniencing a few passengers. That Safety mantra is something that is always front of mind. First my safety. Second my passengers’ safety. Third the safety of other road users. There can be no compromise.

  • Pat that man on the back. Well done.

  • ” six hours straight to prevent fatigue and avoid accidents ”

    You LUCKY bastard…

  • Does anyone have copies of or links to the official releases on this incident from the rail company Renfe or the drivers’ union?

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