August 2011 in Network Rail and Suppliers
An experienced railway worker is concerned that agency workers are increasingly being asked to work faster and therefore, in some instances, more unsafely.
The concern is widespread and not confined to any particular company or area. The reporter feels it is important to raise awareness of this issue as it is believed safety culture is slowly being eroded in the current business climate.
The reporter states that being pressurised to work unsafely by the client can often amount to a form of bullying with safety consequences. Agency staff who have invoked theWorksafe Procedureare simply not invited back to the site in many cases. It is acknowledged that site management varies from site to site.
The following examples of clients pressurising agency staff have been provided.
The reporter asks each company:
Response from Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure
Thank you for highlighting the concerns raised above.
"...theLift Planning Procedurehas been rewritten and higher levels of training introduced..."
Balfour Beatty has recognised that there have been problems in the planning of lifting activities on site using RRVs, where not all the lifts required on site have been planned in detail.
As a result of this theLift Planning Procedurehas been rewritten, and we have introduced higher levels of training for Lift Planners. More emphasis is being placed on producing a lift plan with accurate site information and detailing all of the work that will be undertaken on site. TheLift Planning Procedurealso includes a defined process for reporting and re-planning any unforeseen lifts on site, and we are actively encouraging Crane Controllers and Machine Operators to bring to the attention of the Supervisor on site when lifts have not been included in the lift plan.
While it may not be possible to brief all staff prior to the works, key staff, including Task Managers for specific tasks, are identified prior to the works and briefed at a whiteboard briefing either on site or in the depot. The Task Managers can then brief staff working for them on the day of the job about the specific tasks they will be undertaking.
Balfour Beatty are actively encouraging our own staff and subcontractors to raise safety issues.