Lookout Operated Warning Systems (LOWS)
On many of our Track work sites we use Lookout Operated Warning Systems (LOWS) to warn track workers a train is approaching. In February one of the systems failed to operate correctly and we had a near miss with a train. The subsequent investigation identified the immediate cause as operator error.
However as we carried on with the investigation to identify the root cause, we discovered that the safety, competency and quality management systems of some of the providers of LOWS protection services were not fit for purpose.
Extra controls were introduced for the Network Rail maintenance team to carry on using the LOWS systems however all contract service providers were suspended until they could demonstrate their ability to safely and competently undertake the work.
The attached safety bulletin confirms that RSS INFRASTRUCTURE (RSS) have now received temporary approval to use LOWS on Network Rail infrastructure. All other contract service providers remain suspended at this stage.
In previous updates, I mentioned fatigue and how this may increase through a lack of food. A number of people pointed out that some faith groups fast on certain days and at certain times of the year, and this could affect levels of fatigue.
I asked the Network Rail human resources team for advice and they sent me a very helpful guide on six major religions – managers should consider this and discuss with their teams.
Refreshed Lifesaving Rules
Network Rail is refreshing the Lifesaving Rules which come into effect on 31 July. The most significant change is that the use of mobile phones via hands free devices will be prohibited by any employee, contractor or sub-contractor.
IP SNE has circulated a HSE document on situational awareness – it provides a clear insight into how you can lose concentration when talking on a mobile phone or using your blackberry whilst walking.
S&C and Plain Line
The first stage of the S&C and Plain Line contract transition will take place on Tuesday 29 July covering Wales, Western, Wessex, Kent and Sussex, Anglia and LNW (South). The contracts are signed and sealed and I worked through every route readiness plan before signing the go live certificate and the F10 works notification forms.
There will be some disruption to the work that we plan to deliver but the overriding priority must be safety. First we must make sure that the disposition of all work in progress is effective so that critical rail temperature action plans, supplementary inspections etc are carried out by the new contractors.
Next we need to assure ourselves that on a job by job basis the new contractors have the capability and are ready to undertake the work. This may mean that some jobs are postponed if we are not able to provide this assurance.
It is important that all those involved (both Network Rail and suppliers) recognise that the old ways of working under the previous contracts will be a thing of the past. We need to deliver our obligations under these contracts, which will enable our supply chain partners to deliver what they have committed to.
Like any significant change programme, the new ways of working together will take time to become established and there will be a learning curve for us all, however I am sure that the new contracts we will see benefits in both safety and delivery performance.
We have had a number of issues with resource no shows in recent weeks. I am hoping that this will be resolved when the new contracts are in place and people can build supply chain relationships for the next 10 years.
We continue to have issues with plant reliability: everything from small plant, such as clipping up machines, road rail vehicles and on track machines including the high output systems have been affected in the last few weeks.
Plant reliability has improved by around 30% in the last year and is targeted to improve by at least 10% in the next year – the new contracts with 10 year supply chain relationships should act as a catalyst for investing in high reliability plant.
Track Engineering conference
I recently presented at our six monthly track engineering update conference which was hosted by the Permanent Way Institution at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London. It was great to see 200 track engineers sharing knowledge and best practice – the slides are available on the PWI website.
Placing orders in NROL3
When placing an order in NROL3 all material items default to 604A Freight. So every period once billings hit the projects the commercial teams face a very time consuming and laborious task transferring costs to the correct codes to ensure accurate cost of work done reporting.
The IP Track commercial team have worked very closely with our NSC colleagues to mitigate this issue – the briefing note defines how the user can change the codes at source when placing the order, which will significantly cut down the time spent correcting costs.
? The delivering work within possessions process has been updated
? The latest Permanent Way Institution journal includes a feature on track bed investigation
? Network Rail have issued a safety bulletin after the battery on a diesel back-up generator exploded
? IP Central have issued a safety bulletin following a trench collapse at Stafford
? Network Rail have issued a safety bulletin on single use green lifting straps
? The High Output Team have issued a Share with Pain following a track buckle
? Anglia route have issued a Share with Pain following a derailment at Liverpool St
? The High Output Team have issued a Share with Pride on Plant Innovations
? The Rail Delivery Group have issued a report on the contribution of rail to the UK economy
? Infrastructure Projects have issued a Share with Pride on Health and Wellbeing
? The S&C North team have issued a Share with Pride following the nine day blockade at Huyton and Roby
? The S&C South team have issued a Share with Pride following a team tidy up of the site at Watford which removed 11 tonnes of rubbish and scrap
? The S&C North team have issued a Share with Pride following the trial of the MyZone system to protect against points run throughs
? The S&C South team have issued a Share with Pride following their recent works at Colchester
? The Plain Line team have issued a Share with Pride following works at Heyford Loop
? The IP Track Safety and Assurance team have issued a guidance note on invasive and injurious plants.
And finally for those of you taking some time off over the summer, I wish you and your families an enjoyable break.
Programme Director Track
For more information please visit https://www.thepwi.org/about_us/blog/network_rail_track_delivery_update_25th_july_2014.