50459 Safe system of work ‘lacking’ at Hitchin depot
May 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers
Method of working
Rules and procedures
A reporter is concerned by perceived failures to set up a
Safe System of Work (SSoW) for Track Workers at Hitchin depot.
Following a few incidents at the depot in the last few months, the
reporter believes the general safety culture could be
Track Workers have recently been sent on track
without a SSoW in place, or been allowed to work alone when their
lack of experience requires supervision.
The reporter would like Network Rail to:
- make sure the SSoW process is consistently adhered to at
- review recently reported incidents to see if any lessons can be
Response from Network
Network Rail and the Hitchin Infrastructure
Maintenance Delivery Manager (IMDM) thanks the reporter for
expressing their concerns. Track Worker safety is regarded as being
of paramount importance and any reported incidents are always
During their initial training all Controllers of
Site Safety (COSS) and Individuals Working Alone (IWA) are made
fully aware of the need to have a documented Safe System of Work
(SSoW) in place before they go lineside.
The depot management team regularly check the
robustness and suitability of SSoW during their safety inspections
which have consistently provided assurance that effective SSOW
processes are in place.
The IMDM will commit to a number of actions:
- Have a 'stand-down' brief on the use of theWorksafe
Proceduredelivered to all staff at Hitchin depot by the end of the
first week of January 2012. This brief will also reiterate to all
COSSs and IWA that they are to have full SSoW in place at all
- Re-brief Line Managers by 10 December 2011 that staff must not
be allowed to work alone when their lack of experience may place
them at additional risk.
- The management team will continue to carry out safety
inspections over the coming weeks
- We will continue to encourage feedback from the depot Health
and Safety Representatives own inspections, and review their
- Review recently reported incidents to see if any lessons can be
learnt and these will then be communicated throughout the