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Track Delivery update 30 June 2014

30 June 2014

Close calls and fatigue

The latest Track Safety Alliance video was launched at the recent TSA staff reps meeting, on the theme of Close Calls.  We managed to fill the auditorium with 200 frontline workers to talk about their issues and I gave a general update on the Track Ten Point Plan.

I asked the group how many people had ever felt them selves nodding off whilst driving – with the exception of one person, everybody said that this had happened to them.  Check out the Day Sleeper Video  on Safety Central to discuss the issue of fatigue and driving with your teams.

One of the insights that came from discussion with one of the frontline guys was how he is paid for travelling and hotels. If at the  end of a shift the team travel two hours home this is classed as travel time and is payable. However, if at the end of a shift the team book into a hotel, the hotel is paid for but the two hour journey back home the next day, is not.

So if you travel home at the end of a shift, you get to sleep in your own bed and you are financially better off – so the teams want to travel rather than stay in hotels.

Another insight from one of the frontline guys was the impact that the changes to Sentinel have had on travelling time. Apparently when a person had multiple sponsors they could shop around for local work with whoever had secured the contract for the work. Now workers have a primary sponsor, they are asked to travel further to jobs secured by their sponsor.

We are still in the early stages of our journey to reduce the risk of fatigue to both individuals and to the railway infrastructure but our knowledge of the problem and its root causes are growing – just last weekend 20 of our track sites completed a survey on the things that can cause fatigue in our workforce.

Rail Live

On 18 -19 June we held the Rail Live 2014 event at Long Marston. The feedback from the event has been fantastic with lots of great connections made between those with problems and those with solutions. Many thousands of people attended the show with around £500million of equipment on display.

The charitable donations fund currently stands at over £67,000. Many thanks to all of the exhibitors for their generosity and many thanks to the supporters of the show - without their help Rail Live 2014 wouldn’t have been possible.

Whilst the event was a great success, we had lots of challenges in enforcing the PPE policy on the site. We need to learn the lessons from this for the next event.

As with any worksite we recorded close calls. In most cases these were dealt with immediately and on one case I had to ask a person to leave the site - he had come all the way from Germany!

The top 20 close calls were:

1    Full PPE not worn

2    Pitches mapped out using metal spikes

3    Seat belts not used on site whilst driving

4    Conflicting vehicle movements

5    Moving plant without a banks man

6    Reverse parking not adhered to

7    Fatigue: reports of people leaving very early in the morning and working late

8    Using mobile phones whilst driving at low speed

9    Uneven ground, even when purpose hired flooring put down

10 Rail vehicles not properly scotched

11 Track conditions not suitable for running rail vehicles on

12 Working at Height on plant whilst setting up

13 No recycling bins

14 Tripping hazards in walkways

15 Lifting kit with jibs up over cabins where people will be situated

16 Road and walkway preparation taking place with mechanical scarifier working towards crowds of people (risk of stones flying)

17 Using a grinder without safety goggles and gloves

18 Car park area in adjacent field had steep slope

19 No water available for those in bus queues

20 People by-passing Site Access Control on way in and on way out.

When we did the immediate debrief at the Track Safety Alliance, we reflected that many of these close calls are symptomatic of what real life is like on some of our sites – people think it is OK as they do these sorts of things every day – so we still have a long way to go to change our safety culture.

Rail Plant Awards

At Rail Live 2014, we held the inaugural Rail Plant Awards to celebrate excellence in the plant supply.

■     Most improved RRV Operator / Company - Story for turnaround of Caledonian. Highly commended – Bradshaws

■     Best RRV Operator / Company - Story based on reliability data, Highly commended - AP Webb

■     Most improved Small Plant Operator / Company – Hilti, Highly commended – Robel

■     Best small plant operator / company - A Plant,  Highly commended - Torrent

■     Best OTM (Large Plant) Operator / Company – VolkerRail, Highly commended - High Output Team

■     Best Innovation – RRV - Railability for the super sized RRV, Railmax

■     Best Innovation – Small Plant - Cembre for the automated rail saw

■     Best Innovation – Delivery Systems - Dual Inventive for ZKLRC 

■     Best In Show – Bronze – High Output Team

■     Best In Show – Silver – VP Group

■      Best In Show – Gold - TXM 

Share with Pride - IP Track and Maintenance working together to improve access points

This is a great example of collaborative working with our network operations colleagues. On a project, we often have a unique opportunity to renew the track asset and also enhance the general infrastructure around access points - improving both safety and the efficiency of delivery.

We should always try to leave something behind that is better than when we started and because we generally have people and machines available we can often do this at marginal cost although it does require early thought, communication and planning.

For example an RRV can be fitted with a flail attachment to cut back vegetation e.g. brambles but we have to remember to order a flail in addition to the kit for the track renewals. We often have to wait at access points get onto the track so we can use this time to improve the access point – we just need to have planned for this so that the right equipment is available e.g. hand tools, skip.

Track delivery Updates

My updates are published on the Track Safety Alliance and the Permanent Way Institution websites and they’ll be live on IP Connect too. If you have any comments on anything that I write, post a reply on one of these sites.

Miscellaneous news

■     The High Output Team have issued a briefing note on managing fatigue

■     Network Rail have issued a safety bulletin regarding the return to use of the Genie x-135 MEWP

■     LNW Route have issued aShare with Pride following a Safety Stand Down by Morgan Sindall at Rugby

■     IP Western and Wales have issued a briefing note on the Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment

■     Group Strategy and Planning have issued a briefing note on Interoperability

■     IP Central have issued a Share with Painafter a rail dropped for future work removed the electrical shoes from a train

■     The High Output Team have issued a Share with Pride on various safety innovations

■     The High Output Team have issued a Share with Pride on ballast bagging of entry holes

■     The High Output Team have issued a Share with Pride on calculating the stress free temperature following geometry change

■     The Plain Line Team have issued a Share with Pride on working with Maintenance to improve access points

■     The Plain Line Team have issued a Share with Pride and Pain following some safety conversations at Ampthill Tunnel.


Steve Featherstone

Programme Director Track

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