March 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter notes that some signallers on the Southeastern network are not wearing PPE when opening and closing manually operated crossing gates (MCGs). The reporter has witnessed staff not wearing black boots or high visibility clothing, making it difficult to see these operators in the dark. Also, staff operating these gates without PPE might not be recognised as being a member of railway staff but possibly be carrying out suspicious activity.
The reporter would like to know if signallers are required to wear PPE when operating level crossing gates. If they are, could Network Rail ensure all signallers operating MCGs are briefed and wear the correct PPE?
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.
There are specific requirements for persons to wear PPE when working manual crossing gates; whether they be a signaller or a full time crossing keeper.
Network Rail has a policy in place requiring staff working on or near the line to wear a high visibility jacket (HVV) and trousers together with safety footwear and an appropriately coloured hard hat denoting their experience. However, Network Rail recognises that the environment and underfoot conditions that a person working a set of manual gates is different from that of staff working trackside.
This is reflected in the minimum PPE requirement, which for persons operating manual gates is the wearing of a HVV jacket only.
Network Rail has a process in place which requires the line manager to visit each individual he/she manages on a frequent basis to confirm compliance with all rules and regulations, including adherence to the PPE policy. However, a briefing has been circulated to all locations which have manually operated gates within the Kent route reminding staff of the PPE requirements.
The reporter is encouraged to report any deviation from this policy to their line manager so that the appropriate action can be taken.