August 2007 in Train Operations
CIRAS has received a report expressing concern that Train Crew are not been provided with suitable equipment, such as goggles and gloves, should they have to remove broken glass from the outer skin of the Voyager windows if they break whilst the train is in service.
According to the reporter, Train Crew used to remove the broken glass from the outer skin of the window at the next station in order to make the window safe. However, the reporter states that at some stations the safety equipment needed to do this is not available to staff. The reporter is concerned that should staff attempt to remove the broken glass without the proper safety equipment, it could result in an eye injury. The reporter is aware that several staff members have received cuts to their hands as a result of this.
The reporter would like Virgin Cross Country to provide their Train Crew with the necessary safety equipment and training needed to remove the broken glass safely when this situation arises.
Response from Virgin Cross Country
When the fleet of Voyager trains were introduced, we took the decision that we do not want out crews undertaking the dangerous task of removing broken glass from shattered outer-skins, and so removing the risk of cut hands as the reporter has described, or worse fragments of glass entering eyes. TheRule Bookstates that Train Crew must report all defects through the Signaller - Control and we have a contingency plan for such incidents which is shown below.
If in service, or entering service from other than a maintenance depot, a train with a broken bodyside window may continue in accordance with theRule Book to complete all its journeys for the remainder of that day provided:
a) The train does not exceed 100 mph.
b) Where possible the Train Manager shall ensure passengers are moved away from the immediate vicinity of the broken window, locking the vehicle out of use if necessary.
c) It proceeds to the next available location, which has competent staff and adequate platform capacity for the loose glass to be removed and the window made safe.
Class 220/221 trains with both panes of a passenger access door window broken must, if possible, have the affected area locked out of use. If through access is needed, a member of staff must travel in the area to prevent passengers approaching the affected door.
In circumstances where it is not possible for the Train Manager to contact the Driver directly of a broken bodyside window, the Train Manager must inform Cross Country Control to arrange for the Driver to be made aware of the situation.
We believe the best way to protect our employees from broken glass is for them not to undertake this task unless they are properly trained. We believe our contingency plan as shown above is robust and does not put any employee at risk for broken glass as the glass remains in place. The procedure has been covered in safety briefs including showing a DVD which clearly stated that the task must only be done by people that are trained in glass removal.