January 2011 in London Underground
Perceived unsafe practices occurring on some Mansell sites on London Underground are a concern for several staff reporting to CIRAS.
It has become apparent to staff that more often than not there is no Lead Site Person in Charge (SPC) on the different sites to supervise and manage staff whilst carrying out their duties. This is leading to unsafe practices occurring which could result in staff being injured. The reporter feels that the Lead SPC should be based on site and that it is not acceptable for this role to be undertaken by someone who is employed in another role, which means being based elsewhere.
It is felt by staff that the following unsafe practices are occurring as a result of no Lead SPC being present on several of the sites:
Mansell welcome feedback and comment on all its activities, particularly from Operatives engaged on our sites and any third party stakeholders affected by our operations. Mansell have developed and maintain a sophisticated health and safety management system. This system is implemented to manage compliance with all aspects of the legislation necessary to safeguard everybody affected by the construction process.
Mansell, as part of the Balfour Beatty group, have recently additionally implemented the Zero Harm cultural programme which concentrates on making safety personal. It is a national programme which challenges the outdated culture of safety management and puts every individual centre stage. We therefore promote the core values of:
Mansell are aware of the specific and onerous regulations that additionally exist to ensure the safety of all in the London Underground environment. Mansell have a specialised, dedicated team within our London Special Projects Business Unit based in central London. This team are appropriately trained and briefed to understand the environment. This training includes a working understanding of the Quality Environment Safety and Health (QUENSH) conditions as required by LUL and set out in section 3.2. The implementation of QUENSH conditions ensures the safety of all and provides for the protection of the assets of the operational railway.
Your notification we believe relates to our Victoria line,
'Cooling The Tube Project' where we have four separate sites
running a mixture of traffic and engineering hours shifts, all of
which specific areas for the removal and reinstatement of large
fans, associated support structures and the installation of
controls and power.
The need for a Lead Site Person in Charge (SPC) on our sites is a known requirement where a Protection Master is protecting more than one work group, as per section 4.4 of Rule Book 16, and as referred to in condition 12 of QUENSH. Our projects in this instance were almost exclusively away from the track and our works did not require liaison with a Protection Master. In some cases, however, there were shifts that had requirements to access the track. But this was only for a single, discrete crew to deliver materials or access a work site that was protected from the tracks by an existing physical barrier. In these instances the working group SPC carried out the management of the shift and work group within it and was responsible for the direct liaison with the Protection Master.
Each working group undertaking works on LUL infrastructure must appoint a SPC, who is clearly identified to all on site, who carries out the briefings and is made responsible for the working party. In all cases, Mansell ensure these SPC duties are carried out within the management of the supply chain. Each shift our Site Manager must carry out a SPC checklist to ensure training certification is in date, valid and correct. This certification is also checked as appropriate in accordance with the tasks they are managing, proximity to the track, and whether during traffic or engineering hours.
Our LUL trained dedicated Site Manager is always allocated full time to a project and is overall coordinator and supervisor of the shift. In some cases as the complexity of the work, the numbers of Operatives, or the geography of the site develops, there may well be the need for additional supervisory management. As required, this resource is deployed on site.
We feel that each work party has its own SPC, the site is controlled overall by an experienced, trained Manager and the 'Lead SPC' role being implemented on a 'as required' basis, covers well our obligation to ensure the setting up and maintenance of a safe system of work. However, the observations are clearly concerning and as Mansell understand them, the specific issues highlighted are:
Lead SPC duties with someone else based elsewhere
All our work teams have a SPC appointed, clearly identified and known to the work group. Where coordination is required, this is carried out by the Mansell Site Manager until either QUENSH conditions clearly stipulate or Mansell deem it appropriate to enhance this.
Method statements not being utilised
Each task on site must be accompanied by a signed and approved method statement, and with the Site Manager prior to any works being undertaken. This is generally signed by the originator (contractor) Mansell (Site Manager and Safety Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Manager) and LUL.
The method statement is then reviewed using a checklist and all Operatives are briefed by the task specific SPC prior to the works, who is directly responsible for the safe conduct of the works in accordance with the method statement. Should the SPC have any issue with the proposed method of working, or any specific concern with the local conditions, they have sole discretion to abort or postpone the work is until such time as they are satisfied such concerns are correctly addressed.
No checks for controls of Operatives hours
Allocation sheets of the detailed hours spent on all Mansell sites are kept for all Operatives. Each Operative is clear on the working hours requirements in condition 13.1.2 of QUENSH.
This forms part of the site briefing and is explained at the London Underground Combined Access System (LUCAS) induction. Mansell do not condone the working of additional shifts and should it ever be made aware of such transgression the appropriate steps are taken. The introduction of electronic chips within the LUCAS cards is welcomed as an improvement in managing this issue going forward.
Incorrect completion of permits
Our Site Managers are generally tasked with the completion of permits and are assisted in this task by the office support staff and assurance teams that are full time and dedicated to provide project support. The nightly forms are completed as required by the SPC and Site Manager but a review of the suitability of this will be undertaken.
Lack of PPE
This is a mandatory requirement explained to all operatives in a number of ways:
All the above make it very clear that PPE is critical. Those who choose to ignore these briefings are removed from site. The task specific SPC is best placed in the first instance to address this sort of transgression and Mansell will undertake to re-brief all SPC's on the importance of this.
Can Mansell employ experienced lead SPC's on each of their
We note the point in question and confirm that where the work sites are complicated, numerous or otherwise deemed risky, the appropriate supervision will always be deployed, irrespective of traffic or engineering hours, to ensure a safe system of works at all times. Where the working group is small, specific and localised, the Mansell Site Manager is to review their direct management with the designated SPC. This is in addition to the requirements of QUENSH condition 12 as mentioned above.
Can Mansell carry out auditing of their sites more
frequently to improve checks?
Mansell do employ a full time, experienced rail environment SHEQ Manager dedicated solely for the rail projects it runs. Although they currently visit all our sites within the statutory requirement for site visits, this frequency will be increased for London Underground projects and the specific topic of adequate SPC supervision will be audited each time.