May 2012 in Network Rail and Suppliers
The reporter is aware of instances where staff have been asked to go on track to carry out work that is not deemed an emergency without a RIMINI pack. It is understood that in the event of emergency work, it is acceptable for staff not to receive a RIMINI pack. However, in several cases no RIMINI pack has been supplied even though the work has been scheduled weeks in advance. The reporter feels that surely in this situation the work is not classified as an emergency.
Also, most of the time staff are not given the RIMINI pack 24 hours or a shift in advance, and instead are being given the pack at the start of the actual shift. Carrying out the work without a RIMINI pack could place the staff at risk of being injured.
Could Network Rail:
Response from Network Rail
Network Rail would like to thank the reporter for raising these concerns.
The reporter raises a number of queries regarding the Safe System of Work (SSoW) information provided to staff, and the process in Network Rail StandardNR/L2/OHS/019 'Safety of People Working on or near the Line'.
The first point raised relates to foreseeable work taking place on a recurring basis. This is referred to in the standard as a cyclical maintenance task, and would include track patrols, Supervisor's track walks, quarterly signalling maintenance tasks, regular ultrasonic rail fault detection Operator examinations etc. There is provision in the standard for a SSoW pack to be produced and, once verified, implemented repeatedly without further verification.
The Planner has a responsibility to check the verification date of a cyclical plan and make sure it is still valid before issuing it to the Controller of Site Safety (COSS).
The COSS must always have a copy of the pack as he has the responsibility for checking that the planned SSoW is appropriate and can be implemented as planned.
The reporter also asks for clarification relating to unforeseen or emergency work. Again the standard defines an emergency situation as;"A type of exceptional circumstance where urgent track access is required as a result of an incident, fault or failure which is affecting the normal passage of trains."Exceptional circumstances are defined as;"Any circumstance when there is a need to undertake work to avoid or reduce risks to people, or significant disruption to train services, which could not foresee ably have been planned in advance by the designated Planner."
Generally this work will involve responding to faults, (reported track faults, "bump" reports, animals on the line, signalling faults) or emergency situations (attending at incidents, testing equipment following incidents, weather related incidents).
It is recognised that staff may have to return to a reported fault more than once - either to monitor equipment or until a replacement component or part is available. In this situation it is reasonable that there should be a pre-planned safe system by the second clear working day* after the original fault report.
For example - fault reported on Monday (day 0) staff attend and COSS sets up own SSoW. Staff attend on Tuesday (1st clear day) - COSS sets up own SSoW. Staff attend on Wednesday (2nd clear day) - staff given pre-planned safe system.
*Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays do not count as working days for pre-planning at this time.
The reporter also makes reference to the packs not being made available to the COSS a shift in advance. Again the standard gives the exceptions where a SSoW pack can be verified at the start of the shift, these being where unforeseen sickness prevents the nominated COSS from carrying out the work, or where a COSS is returning from annual leave or training.
The final point the reporter raises regards checking how well the SSoW planning system is being followed within the Western Route. As this standard is key to trackside safety, it is subject to a number of checks at various levels.
It is checked as part of our management systems audit, and any concerns the Auditor identifies are managed to completion. The responsible Manager has to review 20% of the packs that are produced under their area of responsibility (up to a maximum of 50) every 4 weeks to make sure that the process is being followed. Supervisors and Managers undertaking safety tours or planned general safety inspections who join workgroups are expected to check that a SSoW is in place and will be briefed on the arrangements. They may check that the SSoW paperwork is valid and appropriate.
Ultimately the COSS has a responsibility to make sure that they have a pack that has been verified and enables them to set up a SSoW.
Network Rail hopes that this clarifies the issues identified by the reporter and should they wish to give any further details regarding any locations or depots where they feel there are deficiencies or areas for improvement they should do so either through their Line Manager, through their Safety Representative or again through CIRAS.
Finally please remember that if you are being asked to work in an unsafe manner, you should invoke theWorksafe Procedure(Network Rail StandardNR/L2/OHS/00112).