SAFETY BRIEF NO.56

01/11/2017

1. Advanced lookout struck by train.

2. Manual handling incident with a MC3 “Frog” grinder.

3. Contact with moving machinery.

4. Near miss with staff involving Lookout Operated Warning System (LOWS)

1. Advanced lookout struck by train.

Overview

At approximately 12:05 on the 22 August, an advanced lookout was struck by a South Western Railways passenger train. The lookout sustained cuts and bruises to his elbow, which required stitches.

The advanced lookout was part of a three man track patrolling team and was providing advanced warning from the down cess to the patroller who was inspecting the up fast and up slow line, accompanied by his site lookout.

The advanced lookout was ahead of his colleagues, positioned in the down cess on a curve, in order to provide the required warning time to the team. He was standing on the raised ballast shoulder.

One train was passing on the down fast line when a second train approached the advanced lookout on the down slow line at approximately 45mph. That train struck the advanced lookout's right elbow. He was facing the other way as it approached.

When trains passed on either of the down lines, the lookout's view of any trains on the Up lines was compromised.

A lookout was fatally injured in similar circumstances at Leeds in 2009.

2. Manual handling incident with a MC3 “Frog” grinder.

Overview

A five person team carried an MC3 'Frog' grinder through London Waterloo station on 9 August 2017 to get it onto the track. Three members of the team were left to lower the machine from the platform onto the track.

Two members of staff were positioned on the track, while the third member of the team remained on the platform, lowering the machine down to them. The machine dropped faster than expected and trapped one person's hand between the grinder handle and the platform.

The member of staff suffered a deep cut to his finger and realising that the injury was significant, went straight to St. Thomas's hospital so that his injuries could be cleaned, X-rayed and stitched.

An MC3 grinder weighs around 110kg and after a previous Prohibition Notice in Wales Route was the subject of an earlier Safety Advice (NRA 16/02 issued February 2016) which requires safer ways to move them and, if manual lifting was unavoidable, a minimum of four people.

This injury in Wessex is the second in just three months while handling an MC3 grinder with too few people. In May another worker was injured in LNE Route while unloading one from a vehicle.

Early investigation showed the workers at Waterloo had not prepared thoroughly for their task, including by swiping-in to Sentinel. One person had not swiped-in since April.

3. Contact with moving machinery.

Overview

On the 30 August 2017 at High Wycombe Station, an operative was seriously injured when he, sustained crush injuries from a JCB tele-handler.

The operative was working with the machine operator to lay "bog-mats" in preparation for heavy vehicle access.

Whilst positioning a section of "bog-mat", the operative became trapped at the front of the machine sustaining multiple injuries including fractures to their leg, and is currently in hospital recovering from these.

 

4. Near miss with staff involving Lookout Operated Warning System (LOWS)

Overview

On the morning of 29 September 2017 red zone working, by use of Lookout Operated Warning System (LOWS), was in place by to allow survey work for the High Output team to take place.

The work commenced at 0730 that morning and at 0830 advanced LOWS operators were positioned on the Up and Down lines. A site lookout was also in place for the group as per the planned safe system of work.

At 1010 the site lookout became aware of the approach of a train on the Up line due to hearing and feeling the vibration of a freight train on the rails.

The group had not been warned or alerted of this train by the LOWS system.

They were warned by the site lookout and moved clear and into a position of safety. One member of staff was walking on the Up line when the train approached and reached a position of safety 5 seconds before the train passed.

Immediately after the incident the COSS called the LOWS operator who had failed to warn of the oncoming train. The operator highlighted he had not seen this train passing his location, although they had not missed any prior to this event.