SAFETY BRIEF NO.53

01/03/2017

1.    NRB 16/19 Missing or Ineffectual Drainage Covers

2.    NRB 16/20 Overturned Road Rail Vehicle (RRV)

3.    NRB 16/21 Near Miss with an Advanced Lookout Near Surbiton

4.    NRB 16/22 Plant & Equipment Stored in Tunnels

5.    NRB 17/01 Staff Injured by OLE Failure

6.    NRB 17/02 Near Miss at Saxby on 05/12/16

7.    NRB 17/03 Electrical Incident

1. NRB 16/19 Missing or Ineffective Drainage Covers

Overview

On average 15 people a year report an injury due to missing or ineffective drainage covers. Injuries include cuts, bruises and broken bones. Based on feedback from depots and project teams, the number of injuries attributed to catch-pit lids is likely to have been under-estimated

The recorded number of missing drainage covers has been increasing over recent periods. Whilst these pose an immediate threat to the safety of our people, many remain unrectified over a year after identification.

The Drainage Maintenance Standard states that missing or ineffective covers on catch-pits and manholes have an immediate remediation for all track categories (refer to NR/L3/CIV/005/3B).

Projects are also reminded that they too must comply with this standard and therefore replace any covers which may have been moved, removed or damaged during enabling works or construction activities.

2. NRB16/20 Overturned Road Rail Vehicle (RRV).

Overview

In the early hours of Friday 11 November a Liebherr A900 excavator working for Network Rail Maintenance at Kingsbury Junction derailed and overturned in the cess.

The machine was in rail mode and slewing around from end to end on a road rail access point (RRAP) in preparation to couple to a trailer. The track at the site had a 127mm cant, within the machine's certified capability for cant up to 150mm.

The boom was fitted with a wet bed bucket which was empty. Initial indications are that the  it to derail and subsequently over turn. There were no staff injuries.

Recovery was completed on 19 November and investigations are underway.

3. NRB16/21 Near Miss with Advanced Lookout Near Surbiton

Overview

A three man track patrolling team consisting of a Network Rail COSS/patroller and contract site and advanced lookouts were conducting a track patrol.

The COSS proceeded to inspect the Up Fast line and observe the Up Slow, accompanied by the site lookout. As the COSS and site lookout continued the patrol the advanced lookout walked, as he had been instructed, in the wideway in-between the Up Slow and Up Fast lines.

The advanced lookout, who was approximately 200 yards ahead of the COSS and the site lookout reached the end of the wideway walking path and continued to walk straight ahead into a standard ten foot, which narrowed gradually into a six foot.

At this point the advanced lookout was not in a position of safety and was at risk of being struck by trains approaching on either the Up Fast or Up Slow.

A passenger train approached on the Up Fast and the advanced lookout moved his body toward the Up Slow line as it passed. He could not move into the Up Slow cess because he had observed another train approaching on the Up Slow line.

The trains passed narrowly either side of the advanced lookout, but not at the exact same time.

4. NRB16/22 Plant and Equipment Stored in Tunnels.

Overview

On Thursday 1 December temporary lighting that was left lineside in Balcombe tunnel after track renewals four weeks earlier was caught by a train, damaging a track circuit cable and causing significant performance impact. The lighting was moved by vibration or turbulence from passing trains. Investigation found the equipment left in the tunnel included a full petrol can.

On Thursday 8 December one of four portable permanent way trolleys that were temporarily stacked in Stowe Hill tunnel after work the previous night was moved by vibration or turbulence and one was struck by a train. The train had a broken window and body-side damage.

In each case, the contractors involved had not properly secured the equipment left in the tunnel and had not adequately considered and mitigated the risk of damage, fire or derailment.

In 2007 a London Underground train was derailed at Mile End after passing trains moved materials temporarily stored in a tunnel cross-passage. The Infrastructure Plant Manual (NR/PLANT/0200/module P505) requires that all small items of plant or accessories are left securely after work.

5. NRB17/01 Staff Injured by OLE Failure

Overview

On 1 January 2017 at approximately 06:30 a gang of permanent way operatives were working on the Up Electric lines located towards the London end of Shenfield station platform 4.

On the adjacent lines, an OLE team using three MEWPs were carrying out preparation for the de-wiring and removal of the existing OLE wiring systems.

Whilst preparations were underway it appears that the existing OLE dropper suffered a failure causing the OLE to fall downward.

The existing radius of the wiring allowed the cables to straighten and move across from the Down Electric to the Up Electric causing it to swing sharply hitting two operatives working as part of the permanent way gang on the Up Electric. One of the operatives was reportedly
knocked to the ground.

All activities immediately stopped and both men were taken to Queen's hospital, Romford for medical assessment where fortunately only minor injuries were confirmed.

6. NRB17/02 Near Miss at Saxby on 05/12/16

Overview

On Monday 5th December 2016 an eight man team consisting of a Network Rail SWL and seven subcontractors were digging out wet beds on the up main line near Saxby in Leicestershire. The SWL set up a work site taking Line Blocks on the Up and Down Main lines. When the Line Block had to be given up to allow the passage of a freight train on the Down line the team stood in the Up Cess. This was the agreed position of safety.

A Kango that had been used for the work was left in the 6ft on a high ballast shoulder and with the vibration caused by the passage of the freight train on the Down Main the tool rolled down the shoulder and came into contact with the 6ft rail of the Up Main line.

The SWL noticed the Kango had fouled the line and shouted to one of the work party to remove it from the 6ft. A Trackman stepped onto the track, picked up the Kango and stepped out again back into the position of Safety as a passenger train approached on the Up main around a curve at 90mph. As the train driver sounded his horn the trackman stepped off track and the train passed him within 2 seconds of the Trackman reaching a position of safety.

7. NRB17/03 Electrification Incident

Overview

On 7 December 2016 a fault current from the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) near Carstairs was exported through a public telecoms network to the nearby Southholme Farm causing damage to telecoms equipment and the boiler in the property.

Hessian lagging from an expansion joint between concrete beams of an over-bridge had come loose and fallen into contact with the OLE below, bridging the 680mm clearance between the bridge and OLE.

The electrical fault then passed through the bridge into the telecoms circuit buried in the bridge before eventually passing into the adjacent farm.

Telecoms equipment plugged into the electrical mains allowed the fault to eventually be cleared through the domestic electrical system.

Significant burning damage was caused to all telecoms equipment in the farm and the equipment was spotted 'glowing red' by the occupants. The occupants also described the lights in the property flickering for 15 minutes around the time of the incident.

A full isolation was taken and the hessian lagging was cut down. Secondary insulation was installed on to the catenary wire.