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Title: Investigating on-call work in rail infrastructure maintenance
Author: Cebola, Nuno M. F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5361 4743
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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The use of on-call work in industry has now surpassed that of shiftwork and night work. Industries as a whole make use of on-call work daily as a way to maintain 24/7 operations whilst also reducing costs. Despite this, on-call work remains underresearched and no best practice or management guidelines are available. As the first substantial piece of human factors work examining on-call work in the rail industry, this thesis has the overall aim of increasing the understanding of on-call scheduling systems of work, and also to provide recommendations to the planning and management of on-call work in the rail industry which may also be applied in other industries. A semi-structured interview study with 72 rail maintenance on-call workers of Great Britain rail infrastructure owner and operator (Network Rail) explored on-call arrangements in place and the perceived unwanted consequences of this type of work. Anxiety, fatigue, and reduced well-being were perceived as the main consequences of working on-call. The findings also indicate that when discussing on-call there are three separate on-call situations; being on-call, receiving calls, and responding to calls; which influence the study variables differently. From the key themes identified initially an on-call questionnaire for managerial staff was developed and data from across the country generating 479 individual responses. A two-week diary study (one week on-call and the week after) with 26 participants aimed to collect real-time ratings. Results indicated that working on-call was perceived as a leading cause of stress, poor quality of sleep and fatigue. This is due to the inherent unpredictability of on-call work, which is the key differentiating factor between on-call work and other types of working-hours systems. Receiving and responding to calls were perceived as detrimental to general well-being both to workers and their families, fatigue, and performance. The work performed for this thesis allowed the development of the first on-call specific framework that identifies not only the key factors at play but also the relationships between them. It presents a set of principles or theories that other researchers can use to guide future research and that industry professionals can use to deliver more human friendly on-call work management processes and procedures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TF Railroad engineering and operation