Road Tunnels Manual

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4.6 Staff recruiting, training and exercise

Tasks entrusted to the operating staff are very important in the light of safety and efficiency of the operation. Moreover, the context is evolving, because on the one hand, the operational problems assume greater importance compared to purely technical problems and on the other hand, the operating systems are more and becoming complex.

The staff in charge of the operation needs therefore to satisfy the following requirements:

  • They should be well selected through a recruitment process
  • They should be well trained before taking up their functions
  • They need refresher courses throughout their career
  • They should participate in exercises, possibly organised in cooperation with external services.

During recruitment phases, the qualifications required for the future operators must be defined according to the nature of operational tasks. It may be remembered that even if the tasks are similar in all countries, the people responsible for executing them do not necessarily belong to the same kind of organisation in each country. Nevertheless, the skills and aptitudes required should be similar.

While designing the staff training (initial or permanent), the following two issues need to be addressed:

  • What kind of training needs to be provided to the operating staff (or, what should be the obligatory training)?
  • What criteria are to be applied by the operation manager for validating the quality of the training and the results obtained?

If there are no national rules on the content of training, the operator has to adapt his training programme to the specific characteristics and requirements of his tunnels.

The Technical Report 2007R04 "Guide for organizing, recruiting and training road tunnel operating staff" specifies the recruitment and training of personnel in greater detail, chapters 7 "Recruitment of operation staff" and 8 "Training operating staff" .

The operator needs to test regularly the efficiency of his personnel and the procedures he has set up. Thereby the operator needs to make sure that his staff is familiar with the different equipment installed in the tunnel and he can thus detect any possible deficiencies in the execution of specific tasks.

In addition to internal exercises, the operator and emergency services need to organise joint rescue exercises with the participation of the traffic police, the operator, medical services and the fire and rescue services. The results of each exercise should be analysed. If lessons drawn from an exercise reveal lacunae, the intervention strategies should be reviewed.

For road tunnels, exercises should be regarded as an integral part of the tunnel emergency planning process. In many countries, road tunnel safety regulations specify the time intervals between emergency exercises and sometimes give some indication about the contents of the exercises.
For tunnel operators, organising such exercises represents a considerable task.
The technical report 2012R25EN "Best practice for road tunnel emergency exercises", inspired by a survey of current international experience in this field of expertise, provides a step-by-step guide on how to define the objectives, prepare, carry out and assess an exercise in the most efficient way. It also includes practical information on the resources required, the costs and the results to be achieved.
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