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50336 Lookouts fatigued on night shift after working on two sites

February 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers

tagged Rules and procedures Method of working Fatigue Not Specified

A reporter is concerned about the alertness of Lookouts at the end of their night shifts, especially if they have to work on two different sites.

The reporter states that Track Workers have been known to work through the night in a green zone before moving to another site. In one example, Track Workers finished on one site at around 04:00 and then had to wait two hours before starting work as Lookouts on a second site. The concern is that beginning work as a Lookout after a long wait at the end of a night shift causes excessive fatigue. As a result, a Lookout in red zone working conditions could fail to alert Track Workers that a train is approaching.

Could Network Rail clarify:

  • If a Lookout can work in a red zone after doing a night shift in a green zone at another location?

Response from Network Rail

Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for bringing their concerns to our attention.

Could Network clarify if a Lookout can work in a red zone after doing a night shift in a green zone at another location?

There is no reason why a member of staff cannot perform Lookout duties in a red zone after working in a green zone.  If a member of staff feels they are unable to do so due to fatigue they have a responsibility to themselves and the other members of their team to declare themselves unfit. 

All staff have a responsibility to make sure they have sufficient rest periods before commencing any shift, be it day or night.

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