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October 11, 2021

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Railway Safety

RAIB issues a report after Network Rail Employee is almost struck by train

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has issued a report into an incident in which a Network Rail Mobile Operations Manager (MOM) came close to being struck by a passenger train. 

On 19 December 2020, the MOM was on the track retrieving a rubbish bag when the train approached at about 60 mph (97 km/h). The MOM climbed back onto the platform and was clear of the line about one second before the train passed. 

The incident occurred because the MOM had not arranged protection from train movements before going onto the track. The MOM and the signaller did not have a mutual or accurate understanding about the reality of the situation, and because of this, the MOM was unaware that the train was approaching. Underlying these causes are factors associated with the MOM’s competence, which was not adequately managed to ensure he worked safely on the track. Local management was also not functioning properly, which most likely affected the recruitment, training and ongoing monitoring of the MOM. 

Although not causal to the incident, RAIB observed that voice communications were not recorded due to a fault with equipment at the signal box. RAIB also observed that the automatic station announcements were not providing adequate warning to passengers of non-stopping trains at Rowlands Castle. 

RAIB has made four recommendations and identified three learning points. Three of the recommendations are addressed to Network Rail and concern on the competency framework for MOMs, as well as management arrangements for operational response staff at both local and national level. The fourth recommendation is addressed to South Western Railway and is aimed at ensuring safety-related announcements at stations are made in a timely manner.  

The learning points highlight the importance of processes associated with safe systems of work and safety-critical communications, as well as addressing the observation on voice communications recording. 

The full RAIB report is available here.

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