40759 Various concerns regarding Para Rail practices
August 2009 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Station and platform
Rules and procedures
Method of working
Supervision and Management
A reporter has expressed concern regarding various safety issues
across South East stations.
The primary concern is that one COSS has been supervising two
platforms - with workers across both of them. The reporter goes on
to list other examples of unsafe working practices being carried
out such as:
- workers taking scaffolding down from under a footbridge with no
protection (should a T3 have been taken here?);
- a method statement affirming that the COSS should keep
everybody on the inner side of the yellow line, away from the
platform edge, however scaffolding towers are being put up on the
other side of the line close to the platform edge; and
- the COSS being asked to undertake other duties, leaving workers
unsupervised on scaffolding towers.
The reporter believes that independent monitoring and
unannounced checks of these station refurbishment projects are no
longer being undertaken by someone impartial. There is a concern
that a lack of independent auditing at such sites could increase
the likelihood of lapses in safety, which could generate the
potential for incidents or accidents.
For Para Rail:
Would Para Rail look at the possibility of re-assessing the
worksites across the South East, to ensure that there is a COSS for
each work group, method statements are being adhered to, and that
the work is being conducted in the safest possible manner?
The reporter suggests cross-checking of Para Rail's method
statements, together with unannounced site visits to ensure proper
procedure is being followed.
Response from Para Rail The report does not make it clear the type
of scaffolding in use and where it was erected e.g. was it a fixed
type scaffolding or a mobile scaffolding tower? If it was a fixed
type then generally a green zone possession (T3/T2D etc) would be
taken to safely dismantle the scaffolding. For a mobile tower this
would not normally be necessary as the mobile tower could safely be
dismantled without the need for any type of possession.
- The method statement does not mention the "yellow line" as this
is normally painted on to the platform surface within the area
classed as "on or about the line" e.g. within 1.25 metres from the
platform edge. All method statements for this type of work clearly
states that "Where work is required to be carried out within the
area known as "on or about the line" this shall be carried out in
accordance with GE/RT8000 with the required protection staff
provided, the appropriate RIMINI plan completed and safe system of
work in place". It is the responsibility of the COSS to ensure that
all site staff comply with the method statement and this
- The number of COSS's on site is dependent on the size of the
site, the perceived risks associated with the work and the
experience and competencies of the site staff. Each site is risk
assessed before work is started which will ascertain the number of
COSS's required for the site.