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Briefing 58 PDF



1. Manual handling injury leads to ORR improvement notice.
2. Near miss with staff near Primrose Hill tunnel portal.

1. Manual handling injury leads to ORR improvement notice.


On 21 January 2018 an accident occurred whilst Works Delivery were undertaking a steel sleeper track renewal. While manually handling a steel sleeper a contractor colleague trapped a finger on his right hand which resulted in an open fracture and damage to the nail bed.

The colleague was part of a two person operation to lift steel sleepers from stock piles and place them onto the ballast.

The primary method for placing out sleepers was using a tracked machine with a sleeper lifting attachment. As works had fallen behind schedule colleagues from another worksite were asked to support. In an attempt to recover lost time the additional staff were tasked with manually placing out sleepers; this method of work was not part of the original risk assessment. The sleepers weighed in excess of 80kg each.

To undertake the task two colleagues were positioned one at each end of the sleeper; the sleepers were being lifted and thrown into position on the ballast. When carrying out the particular lift the activity was not done in tandem and resulted in one end of the sleeper being
lowered before the other, this caused the injured person's finger to be trapped between the sleeper being moved and the remainder of the pack. No sleeper nips were available to be used.

As a result of an ORR investigation an Improvement Notice has been issued to Works Delivery Wales Route, due to the lack of a suitable and sufficient manual handling risk assessment for the newly employed task. It is noted in the ORR report that it is the inspector's opinion that other functions may be in the same or similar positions across Network Rail when carrying out this type of works.

2. Near miss with staff near Primrose Hill tunnel portal.


On Sunday 11 March, colleagues were working at the northern portal of Primrose Hill tunnel.

Initial investigations have shown that there was a discussion between the workers and their COSS, challenging their understanding of the layout in that area.

The COSS appears to have confused the fast lines and the slow lines despite having previously worked with this team in and around this location on multiple occasions.

The team had just placed a hand trolley on the line when they were warned of the approach of a train by colleagues working 50 metres or so north of them. Fortunately they were all able to scramble clear and remove the trolley.

The slow lines where the workers should have been working were under the protection of an engineering possession. However, the fast lines were open pending the arrival of the train involved in the near miss at Euston.

The access point the team were using leads to a wide way between the Slow lines and the Fast lines.

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