March 2010 in Network Rail and Suppliers
A reporter would like clarification from Network Rail on whether their staff should hold Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) cards whilst working for principal contractors on construction-sites.
CSCS certification is designed to mitigate the risks of working in a construction environment. At the current time the working assumption is that a standard PTS card will suffice for Network Rail staff, even where work is being carried out in areas well beyond what is categorised as 'on or near the line'. In the reporter's opinion, this amounts to a special kind of exemption which is unsafe. Such construction sites contain their own risks which are recognisably different from those found in a railway environment.
Network Rail staff who must work some distance away from the line are likely to be unfamiliar with the construction environment and therefore more at risk. If the situation is reversed, construction workers who work 'on or near the line' must hold PTS cards and this is enforceable by Network Rail.
Obtaining a CSCS card simply requires some home study with an interactive DVD, before sitting a multiple choice test at a test centre, often in the same place learner drivers do their theory test.
Could Network Rail communicate:
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention. Network Rail mandates the of 'Works Package Plans‟ NR/L2/INI/CP0044, on all construction sites on Network Rail managed infrastructure or the use of 'Task Risk Control Sheets‟ (TRCS), or "Work Activity Risk Assessments‟ (WARA) for maintenance activities. These highlight the controls to be used and also detail any competence requirements.
In so far as buildings and civils is concerned, the principal contractor should also ask the contractor to demonstrate the system and arrangements used by the contractor's company to demonstrate the level of competence. This can be based on CSCS or a suitable industry equivalent which demonstrates the individual's level of competence; such as authority to work cards, or plant proficiency certificates etc.
If the reporter feels that they would benefit from additional training they should raise this with their line manager. If the reporter feels that there is a safety risk by them not having this specific training or competence they should go to a place of safety immediately and report it to the their manager. As a reminder, Network Rail has a "Worksafe Procedure‟ in place and any member of staff has the right to invoke this procedure if they feel there is a safety risk.