Skip to main content

Safety Briefing No.76

    1. Robel Battery Powered Tamper Incident (23/08/22)

    The Eastleigh P-way team arrived at the stores on the 31/07/2022 at 23:54 to collect tools and equipment for their planned works. A Robel LithiumIon battery was removed from the charger and placed on a Robel 62.20 vertical tamper. The test button was pushed, and a loud bang and a puff of smoke was emitted from the Robel vertical tamper unit. This was reported to Control and the section manager. The section manager instructed the team to place the equipment in quarantine. The following morning at 09:25 hrs the section manager and supervisor went to the stores to investigate further. During the initial investigation the battery was unclipped from the vertical tamper and placed on the floor to inspect further. After approximately 2 minutes they heard a hissing noise coming from the battery, followed by smoke, which began filling the stores. The stores were evacuated, and the fire brigade were called, who extinguished the fire with no other damage. The Robel 62.20 vertical tamper unit and Robel Lithium-Ion battery were both new and delivered to the team on the 20/07/2022 and had only been used once before. There is no indication that other Robel vertical tamper units and Robel Lithium-Ion batteries have the same problem and at present there have been no other incidents reported This equipment is fully product accepted Ref:PA05/05265 & Catalogue number 094/022069 This incident is currently under investigation by the manufacturer and Network Rail Technical Authority Plant Team have notified the Regions that a suspension of the use of these assets is to be instigated until the results of this investigation are completed and the assets are confirmed as 'safe to use'.

    2. Trench collapse (22/08/22)

    On 12 August 2022 trench excavation works were being undertaken within the highway to a depth of 1.60m. The excavation required a temporary works design and a proprietary system was being used for areas where operatives needed to access the trench. The temporary works were to be used at locations where operatives needed to enter the trench to join the new ducting being installed. Two teams of five members of staff were employed to undertake the task of excavation, shoring, placing of ducting and backfilling of trench. Trench support was installed by a minimum of two people from the top of the trench and then a ladder placed within for access. Areas between the shoring was left open and no people were required to enter this space. Two people were left in the working area to install trench support. They entered the trench within the shoring that had been installed. Rather than come out of the trench to install the next set of temporary trench shoring, one person walked along the unsupported trench to the required location to install the trench support in an unplanned manner from within the trench. Clay from the side of the trench came loose and struck the operative on the right hip causing bruising.

    3. Rigid worksite fencing (11/05/2022)

    Investigation into the track worker fatality on 8 April 2020 found that the worksite safety barriers were not put up correctly. Instructions on how to install the safety barrier correctly are found in the Manufacturer's Guidance Document and Product Acceptance Certificate. Investigation found that the worksite safety barrier had gaps in it – more than required for safe refuges. This meant workers could get onto the open running lines too easily. The track worker was walking between two of those gaps when he was struck by a train.

    4. Drugs & Alcohol - Increased Test Failures (05/07/2022)

    Testing in the first three periods this year has found 16 people under the influence of drugs or alcohol who should not have been at work. The number is much worse than last year. Of the failures: • 7 were due to alcohol, • 4 due to cannabis, and • 5 due to cocaine use. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work impairs judgement and creates safety risks to yourself, colleagues, passengers on the railway and members of the public. Network Rail's life-saving rule states, "Never drive or work while under the influence of drugs or alcohol". Attending work under the influence is not allowed. If you test positive, you can expect to lose your job. In addition, you will not be allowed to do any work on the railway that is safety critical or requires you to hold Personal Track Safety for at least five years.