Reflections on a fantastic time at Railtex

Last week we travelled northwards to the bustling city of Birmingham to set up camp at Railtex – which combined with Infrarail made it one of the rail industry’s biggest events in the UK this year.  We were primed and ready for three days of engaging discussion, new opportunities and some fun.  The fact that so many of us hadn’t been able to enjoy face-to-face discussion with people outside of our own immediate working groups for the last year and a half, provided that additional frisson of excitement to proceedings!

We were pleased to be a part of the RBDCommunity’s ‘Eagle Lab’, set up specifically to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) showcase their products and services.  This helped us to make the most of our time at the event and engage with people that were interested in SiteSentinel, our online worksite induction platform.

We were also able to offer delegates a SiteSentinel tour – showing them how the system delivers relevant, up to date, high quality induction information using text, photos, video and illustrations.

We have primarily implemented SiteSentinel at train depots and stations, but our time at Railtex also opened our eyes to other possibilities in a much broader range of scenarios – everything from construction to the charity sector.  If we hadn’t been able to spend time with such a diverse and dynamic community, we may not have so readily considered these areas.

Founder of Lucid Communications, Paul Townsend said “Exhibiting at Railtex really made us feel a part of the wider rail community again.  It’s been a tough period for everyone, and it was invigorating to come together with this vibrant sector to properly start considering how we all safely move forward whilst still continuing to innovate.  We were delighted by how many people took a copy of our white paper ‘Professional Inductions, Safer Sites’ and we also sincerely hope everyone who was lucky enough to get a Lucid polo shirt is now wearing it!”

Thank you Railtex – until next year!

Announcing our stand at Railtex on 7-9 September 2021 at the NEC Birmingham

We are delighted to be exhibiting at Railtex this September 2021 at the NEC Birmingham on Stand K80 in Hall 12; and after the year we’ve all had we’re looking forward to engaging in some good old fashioned face-to-face discussion!

This year’s event will be the 15th edition of Railtex and it has joined forces with key rail sector conference, Infrarail, meaning the show will service both the infrastructure and rolling stock sides of the sector, therefore creating the ultimate show for the rail industry.  

Founder of Lucid Communications, Paul Townsend said “Throughout the last year and a half the rail industry has worked hard to keep rail services safely moving up and down the country.  Railtex presents a fantastic opportunity for everyone to come together to celebrate what we’ve achieved and consider how we will all safely stride forward into an altered landscape with a whole host of new challenges.”

At the event we will be showcasing SiteSentinel, our online worksite induction platform, which also incorporates a test and administration interface.  The system is designed to consistently deliver relevant, up to date, high quality induction information using text, photos, video and illustrations.  SiteSentinel ensures an easily accessible audit trail of worksite safety inductions for all staff, visitors and contractors.

Please come along and see us – we’d love to meet you!

Bristol and Paddington join the growing SiteSentinel station family!

Photo by Lucid

We are delighted to announce that we have been commissioned by both Bristol Temple Meads and Paddington train stations to implement SiteSentinel, our online worksite induction platform.  SiteSentinel will train the wide variety of daily station visitors in what they need to know to stay safe and vigilant whilst on site.

Both Bristol and Paddington stations have a constant flow of visitors; from contractors completing repair and maintenance jobs to the army of ‘Here to Help’ volunteers who are present every single day to guide and support passengers.  Currently contractors complete an on site paper based induction whilst volunteers are provided with a briefing pack.

Implementing SiteSentinel at both Bristol and Paddington will mean that all station visitors will receive their induction using the same online induction platform, which can be completed at a time and location convenient to them.  SiteSentinel will also direct different induction content to different visitors, meaning each individual user will only see the information that is relevant to their visit at the station.

Both stations have chosen SiteSentinel to streamline their induction process following its hugely successful roll out at Reading station, which remains the biggest SiteSentinel station implementation so far in terms of the range of different content available for different users.

The SiteSentinel platform provides an online induction, test and administration interface. The system is designed to consistently deliver relevant, high-quality information using text, photos, video and illustrations. SiteSentinel provides an audit trail of site inductions for staff, visitors, and contractors.

How agile is your company? How agile are you?

woman in gray leggings and black sports bra doing yoga on yoga mat
Photo by Elly Fairytale on

A worldwide health crisis like COVID hasn’t just created a ripple in the business world – it’s created a full scale tsunami which has affected businesses across the globe.  From your micro business selling homemade chutney at Sunday markets to multinational giants selling technological solutions to keep people connected – no one has escaped the knock on consequence of living through a pandemic.

Some businesses didn’t manage to weather the storm.  Sadly, some have failed and are unlikely to resurface even once we go back to ‘normal’ – however that looks.  However, others have thrived – either because their businesses already addressed rapidly emerging consumer demands (e.g. Zoom, Uber Eats, Virgin Media and the supermarket giants who all brought our world indoors to us) or because they were agile enough to quickly change and diversify to suit a new type of market.

For some, this agility not only resulted in them remaining viable, but actually improved their offering.  For example, an events company, faced with complete loss of revenue, moved to an online offering and actually increased their performance – online will now form an ongoing part of their business model.

So, how did the tsunami of change impact on our world of health and safety?  After all, it’s not an area known for its dynamism.  We know from experience during the early days of launching SiteSentinel – our online safety induction platform – that suggesting, or even hinting, at technological change can be met with a euphemistic brick wall.

The rail industry told us it couldn’t work – workers didn’t have email addresses, didn’t like online information, didn’t need to move away from paper, etc. In one meeting, a safety director even walked out on us, issuing the decree “we’ll be having none of that internet stuff in here…!”

Yet here we are now, almost 30 worksites later – all using SiteSentinel to safely induct new workers and visitors online – with plenty more in the pipeline.  So, what makes some companies open their eyes to what technology can offer? Why do some organisations embrace change? Why are they ‘agile,’ to use a modern adjective?

As with most organisational successes or failures, the direction of travel is set by senior management. If senior, board level, management are asking questions about technology adoption, change management, digital enhancement, then it’s likely that the rest of the organisation will follow.

So, how agile is your organisation? How willing are they to adopt new technology or simply embrace change? Or perhaps the question actually is – how agile are YOU?

Repeat business – as straightforward as it sounds?

The idea of repeat business sounds so clear cut: customers electing to return for more work, often needing something the same or similar, and all wrapped up in an established working relationship.  It might therefore seem like an opportunity to roll out more of what worked previously, and in some circumstances, this is exactly what the customer wants.  However, even with pure repeat business there is a process of checking and challenging that must happen to ensure the customer gets what they need.

Take our SiteSentinel online worksite induction solution, which we’ve successfully rolled out across numerous rail sites – depots and more recently stations. The structure and benefits stay largely the same, yet the content often contains significant differences – additions, subtractions and points of emphasis. It all depends on the nature of the site and its associated risk.

As consultants accepting repeat business, the benefits of already knowing an industry are huge.  We can make good use of standard industry phrases or acronyms in site induction content, confident that induction users will be familiar with the terminology.  For example, the rail industry ‘HOT’ protocol for assessing the risk of an unattended object: Is it Hidden from view?  Is it Obviously suspicious?  Is it Typical of what one would expect to find in that area?  We can use this across different site inductions safe in the knowledge that all rail employees will understand it.

Repeat business also means that as consultants we become more and more familiar with our customers’ policies and procedures; making us adept at knowing exactly when and where to cite them for maximum impact in site inductions.  By supporting our clients across multiple different sites, we are also efficiently and effectively communicating company-wide policies across the organisation – helping to develop awareness, support uptake and increase consistency of implementation.

However, the real benefits for a customer comes from a consultant that doesn’t make assumptions when undertaking what looks like a repeat job.  Just because one site paints its safe walking route yellow, doesn’t mean they all will – even if they are all part of the same company.  For many of the rail companies we work with, every site is different, and if we make assumptions, we risk making mistakes.

Therefore, for each site induction we develop, especially when it’s repeat business, we remain actively curious.  We ask questions, we don’t jump to conclusions and we never assume we know the answer just because of what we did at a neighbouring site.  It’s only when we’ve completed a thorough assessment that we begin to carefully add or remove content from the induction programme to ensure it reflects each unique site perfectly.

If you get it right, customers will vote with their feet.  Having implemented SiteSentinel across a range of train operating company sites, Arriva Rail London, East Midlands Railway and Greater Anglia are just some of our customers that have returned for more site induction development at different sites in the last six months… which is no small achievement considering the last six months we’ve all had!