July 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers
The issues reported are:
Lack of Machine Controllers: Machine Operators have been seen operating their machines without the supervision of a Machine Controller.
Weak signing-in process: Some agency staff have accessed the Northolt site without actually signing-in. According to the reporter, one Labourer who didn't hold a Personal Track Safety (PTS) card was told to ignore the process.
Exceedances of Network Rail's 14 hour door-to-door recommendation: Some staff are fatigued because they have been travelling six hours a day as they live in the north of England.
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Some agency staff have arrived on site without the correct PPE and no company logo on their high visibility vests.
Inadequate welfare facilities: There are up to 150 staff on the Northolt site but only one toilet block with three cubicles and two urinals.
The reporter believes that the combined effect of all these issues could lead to an accident.
Could BAM Nuttall investigate these issues at Northolt and:
Is it also possible to check for similar issues at other BAM Nuttall sites on the Evergreen Project too with a view to making them even safer?
Response from BAM Nuttall
BAM Nuttall have taken this report seriously and were previously aware of concerns of a similar nature. As regards the points raised by the report:
Lack of Machine Controllers: We find no evidence to support this observation. Visits have been undertaken at the Northolt site by senior safety personnel and the Office of Rail Regulation, none of whom identified issues with machines or Machine Controller supervision. When questioned the Machine Drivers confirmed they are aware that they need to be under the supervision of a Machine Controller at all times. It possible that the person who made the observation did not see the Machine Controller as they would have been in a position of safety.
Weak signing-in process:There is no evidence to support this observation. Checks are made on the sites by visiting Managers to ascertain that all personnel are signing in. SACC sheets are also used as a tool to reconcile applications for payment from labour supply agencies. So it is unlikely that personnel are ignoring this process.
Exceedances of Network Rail's 14 hour door-to-door recommendation: A review of the project SACC sheets has identified that some individuals were occasionally travelling up to six hours per day. However, their shift time was reduced accordingly to 5.5 hours in order to provide a door-to- door time of 11.5 hours, well within the maximum permitted 14 hours. The project team recognised that this amount of travel time was not ideal and personnel were encouraged to lodge locally. It is understood that not all individuals took up this offer.
Lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): This relates to none of the PTS staff who arrived on site without the correct PPE. However, as part of their track visitors permit issue and the induction process the issue of correct PPE was undertaken before personnel were allowed onto site.
Inadequate welfare facilities: Welfare facilities at Northolt have two sections. Within the site offices are gents and ladies facilities which include both toilets and urinals and there are also first aid and kitchen facilities. Outside the site offices, there are additional gents and ladies facilities including toilets, urinals and shower facilities. There are also drying rooms with lockers, and kitchen/canteen facilities.
The Northolt facilities have been in place since the start of the project and no complaint or concern has been expressed by any visiting inspectors, advisors, BAM personnel or subcontractors previously.