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A safety net when all else fails

40855 Sectional appendices in SSWOPS out of date

March 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers

tagged Rules and procedures Method of working Training and briefing Communication and teamwork North West

A reporter has raised concerns over the sectional appendices included in the safe system of working planning systems (SSWOPS) packs, which are often showing the wrong information because they are not up to date.

Sectional appendices have been found to be out of date, some as many as five or six years, which means workers on site might not have the correct safety critical information available. Examples of incorrect information in the SSWOPS include line speed, actual lines missing and information indicating that lines are unidirectional when in fact they are bidirectional. In many cases such shortcomings will be spotted, but if they are not, it could have serious consequences: there might not be enough lookouts present or they might not be placed correctly; workers could be surprised by the speed of approaching trains and workers could be looking out for trains in the wrong direction, to name a few examples.

The reporter is aware that this has been an issue in the Preston and Carlisle areas, as well as in other locations across Cumbria, but believes it is a nationwide issue which could affect all SSWOPS packs being made. This problem has been reported to management repeatedly, but continues.

The reporter would like to see Network Rail ensure that all sectional appendices included in SSWOPS packs are accurate and up to date. Could this be done?

Response from Network Rail

Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for raising their concern
We are continually striving to improve the quality of information available to our staff. SSOWPS takes the National Electronic Sectional Appendix (NESA) as the master for the sectional appendix diagrams (also containing ELRs and mileages). The application support group look after the process of updating the sectional appendix.

When a change is made to NESA it is published and application support update the image or information online. This is done manually by the team, rather than by any automated upload procedure. Any images or information which are found by the users to be out of date or inaccurate should be reported immediately through your line manager.

If a call is raised then the national specialist team at HQ check the content of the sectional appendix and pass the enquiry either to NESA or directly to the IM application support group for update.

We would like to stress the importance to everyone of making your line manager or supervisor aware of any error in the paperwork provided so that we can continue to improve the quality of information we provide.

 

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