SAFETY BRIEF NO.54

01/06/2017

1.    NRB 17/04 Trespass causes severe electric shock to member of public

2.    NRB 17/05 Control of railway fog signals (detonators)

3.    NRB 17/06 Liverpool Lime Street cutting retaining wall failure

4.    NRB 17/07 Test before touch while fault finding

5.    NRB 17/08 Near miss on limited clearance structure 

1. NRB 17/04 Trespass causes severe electric shock to member of public

Overview

On 8 December 2016 a member of the public came into contact with the live overhead line equipment after climbing over the parapet of overbridge 033/006 at Whitelees Road in Lanark.

It is apparent that the male came into contact with the OHLE after slipping from the ledge on the outside of the parapet girder, subsequently causing his leg to make contact.

This resulted in serious injury caused by the severe electric shock.

The circumstances as to why the young male was walking along the outside ledge of the parapet are unknown, however there is evidence of historic vandalism to the structure including graffiti on the external face of the parapet.

Additionally, there was an apparent suicide attempt at this structure in 2012. This was unknown to the structures team

2. NRB 17/05 Control of railway fog signals (detonators)

Overview

While carrying out fieldwork for a road fleet maintenance audit at Newcastle Delivery Unit's Raven House an auditor noticed fog signals (detonators) present in the vehicle's cup well.

Further checks were made and in another vehicle detonators were again present in the front cup well.

The event was reported to local staff and management who quickly rectified the issue and a close call was raised reflecting the auditor's concern.

3. NRB 17/06 Liverpool Lime Street cutting retaining wall failure

Overview

At around 17:45 on Tuesday 28 February 2017, a section of retaining wall at the top of Liverpool Lime Street cutting collapsed resulting in significant debris falling onto the railway below, damaging OLE and obstructing all four running lines.

The train service in and out of Liverpool's main railway station was suspended for over a week.

Photographic and other evidence show modifications to ground levels and changes in land use over recent years adjacent to the retaining wall which appear to have resulted in significant overloading of the wall.

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. Test before touch while fault finding

Overview

Technicians were sent to site to investigate an Intelligent Infrastructure alarm.

The alarm was raised by a piece of equipment known as a Bender Earth Monitoring system which is typically found in signalling and plant equipment rooms and other trackside locations.

Staff used a volt-stick at the location to carry out the "Test before touch" lifesaving rule.

Following the "Test before touch" rule avoided the risk of electric shock as the signalling location cabinet was found during the test to be live at 200 volts.

Rubber gauntlets were used to access the location. A short circuit fault was observed in the 650 volt chamber located in the bottom of the signalling location cabinet which was then isolated and a repair carried out.

5. Near miss on limited clearance structure

Overview

On 23 March a four man protection team of three lookouts and a COSS were supporting an Earthworks Examiner undertaking site inspections.

Whilst walking between sites, two distant lookouts were ahead of the group around a curve providing warning of trains approaching on the Up line. Upon reaching a limited clearance structure the COSS, site lookout and examiner stopped in a position of safety to assess the protection arrangements.

The COSS asked the site lookout to signal to the intermediate lookout positioned ahead in the Down Cess to move further on to increase the warning time required to cross safely.

Whilst the COSS was reading the SSOWP the site lookout crossed the limited clearance structure.

When the lookout was in the middle of the structure the intermediate lookout warned a train was approaching and the site lookout had to run to the end of the structure before the train reached his location.

The train approached the group at 70mph.

After the event there was some confusion in reporting the incident to Control; because of the use of the term 'close call' the Controller believed the COSS was reporting a close call rather than a 'near-miss' and referred him to the close call reporting line.