Stobart Rail actively build on behavioural safety culture

Project Summary


Promoting and enhancing positive behaviours and team working

Stobart Rail are actively building on the behavioural safety culture of its team with Safety Stand Down days. Those who attended the 3½ day programme at the Palace Hotel in Inverness at the start of November were of all different levels ranging from Project Manager to track men, all of whom are involved in the far North contract.


Jeff Broadhurst (Senior Training & Competence Development Manager) and Rachael Burnett (SHE Advisor)from the Stobart Training and Safety teams, delivered a comprehensive programme which was designed to promote and enhance positive behaviours, team working, safe and efficient driving and the implementation of a new Network Rail standard surrounding Safe Work Planning.

It was an interactive programme with some good discussions and positive participation. The week involved stretching some of the employees outside of their comfort zone with exercises around safety, planning, hazard spotting and remedial actions.


With the intention to push the learners in their thought process, all the sessions were hands on and interactive starting with an outline of who they are and what their job role means to them, this lead in to the roles and responsibilities of the staff around them and from different parts of the business. They were then questioned on what information is on the notice boards around the cabins, including company policies, this then lead into our procedures, operating instructions and forms.

Having a basis of their understanding then allowed for a more in-depth look at people behaviours. This started with The Stobart Values, Network Rail - Non-Technical Skills and Life Saving Rules. To help identify the ‘Life Saving Rules’ a ‘Question of Sport’ style quiz was used and this kept them engaged and interacted. The ‘Take Five’ approach was also installed into the group. Psychology of behaviour was a subject that promoted some good discussions around human nature and the repetition of tasks.


The last session of day one was built around risk assessments and hazard perception, the team were split into two groups and given a scenario each, with the Project Manager taking the lead on both groups. They had to plan, allocate task briefs and document a risk assessment each, cross referencing to our policies and procedures and show which Life Saving Rules applied. This was then briefed out to everybody on day two.

Day two carried on in the same format with an interactive session on good and bad driving with a group Q&A session on causes of accidents and fatigue. To help give the group an understanding of how work is won, a session on award of contract was carried out, they were split into two groups with one group picking a Director and the other the Network Rail Manager to assist them in putting a contract flow in the correct order.

During the day the team summarised what they had learned, discussed any challenges faced and how they could work to overcome them. At the end of the second day they were asked to build on their communication skills by presenting a five-minute talk on a subject of their choice. This was done at the start of day three and brought out some interesting subjects, such as hobbies, personal reflection and instilled a lot of confidence in each team member.

The level of detail, interaction and enthusiasm that was put into delivering the talks was greatly received by all, and the group enjoyed gaining an insight into the individual personalities.



Day three continued to build on the level of skills needed to stretch and enhance their ongoing behaviours around correct application of PPE, use of competencies and challenging questions to their peers, where needed. With a couple of machine controllers and an OTP operator present, the ALO session proved to be valuable with all getting into the spirit of completing the detail on to flip charts, with the last two sessions of the day being just as thought provoking on the Environment, and finally PUWER & LOLER regulations.

At the start of each morning of the programme each team member was asked to reflect and list three points of information they had taken from the course the previous day. Again, the level of details proved every member of the team had been fully engaged throughout.

Finally, the last task was to write a self-evaluation, containing information on what had been learned and what if anything the individual would do differently. This was a perfect way to conclude the course and gain an understanding of how the team felt before and after the event.

Due to the course being a huge success, the Safety and Training teams are in discussions regarding planning a series of courses next year.

Congratulations to Jeff and Rachael for the preparation and organisation of the programme and to all those who took part, well done.

Our client said…

The delivery was first class and the content all very relevant. Jeff and Rachael should be congratulated on the work they put into it. The benefit of helping staff understand the ins and outs of a contract from cradle to grave will hopefully inspire them into taking ownership. Understanding the impact their behaviours and attitudes have, and how this is perceived by the client. The hands-on approach, getting everybody involved, although daunting at first was well received. Everybody likes to feel part of something and this course reinforces how important the man on the ground is”

Phil Stalker, Construction Manager, Works Delivery Network Rail, Inverness


“A great deal of time and effort had obviously gone into this bespoke course. Massive credit to Jeff Broadhurst for making this up.The staff who attended really bought into all aspects of the course, no more so than when they were completely out of their depth with some of the lessons but worked together to get the solutions required.This exercise was able to target most of the outstanding actions from the various L1 reports and we must use this momentum to close out the remaining half dozen or so actions remaining next week.My thanks to Jeff, Rachael and all the attendees for their input”

David Tomnay, Project Manager, Network Rail


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