Preventing Occupational Stress in Railway Engine Pilots: Issues at a Glance

Preventing Occupational Stress in Railway Engine Pilots: Issues at a Glance

Devesh Kumar (Diesel Locomotive Works, Indian Railways, India) and Poonam Singh Kharwar (Banaras Hindu University, India)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0920-2.ch026
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Traffic volume and speed is going to be increased in Indian Railways successively leading to higher stress in train operations. The jobs of railway pilots come under the category of high strain jobs, necessitating a need to conduct study to unfold factors associated with occupational stress. OSI test, questionnaire of specific stressors and laboratory test battery were used as tools. Means of OSI of railway pilots was significantly higher than OSI of train operation staff. Mean of OSI of goods train pilots was higher to means to those of high speed and passenger train pilots. Study revealed positive correlation of speed perception and complex reaction time tests, and negative correlation of other constituent tests of laboratory test battery to OSI test. Highest stressor observed is role overload followed by role conflict. These findings provide evidence of higher occupational stress among railway pilots because of identified specific stressors. Significant correlation noticed between OSI and laboratory test results indicates its utility in preliminary psychological screening.
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Karsek and Theorel (1990) have rated the occupations into four categories- active jobs, low strain jobs, passive jobs and high strain jobs. The jobs of railway engine pilots prima-facie come under the fourth category as they have to perform long hours of duty, and have to follow rigid procedures and are allowed little latitude for taking breaks or time off for personal needs. It becomes necessary for each organisation to identify stressors of their employee in relation to the organisational setup and categories of jobs. It is also necessary that strategies for reducing stress at both macro and micro levels are designed. Hence it is imperative for the Indian Railways to develop stress management strategies that can equip the human resource with effective coping styles. Moreover, findings of previous studies conducted at Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow presenting variations in results, tend to attract attention to make more detailed probe into the prevailing state of affairs in the job of drivers. It is also necessary to identify predictors of stress amongst drivers and its related variables and study specific stressors to their job. For developing effective stress management strategies, it is desirable to analyze the occupational stress among railway engine pilots, as they are directly related to train operations, keeping following objectives into consideration:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Questionnaire: A norm containing a set of questions submitted to people to gain statistical information.

Occupational Stress: Stress related to one's job, often stems from unexpected responsibilities and pressures that do not align with a person's knowledge, skills, or expectations, inhibiting one's ability to cope.

Gateman: Person employed at level crossing of railways responsible for rail and road traffic.

Occupation Stress Index (OSI): Acceptable scale for measuring job stress.

Train Operation Staff: Basic functioning team responsible for train operations. Indian Railways consists of more than 100,000 Train (loco) pilots/Assistant pilots /Guards/Station masters/Gateman responsible for train operations.

Indian Railways: An Indian state-owned enterprise owned and operated by the Government of India through the Ministry of Railways, the world’s largest network under a single management.

Laboratory Test Battery: Series of tests used by RDSO for psychological screening for high speed train locomotive pilots.

High Speed Train Pilot: Loco pilot running train more than 130 km/hour speed in Indian Railways.

Guard: A crew member in rear part of the train responsible for operational and safety duties.

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