Railway worker fatally struck by train at Purley (06/11)

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by ArchieWoodbine, 6 Nov 2018.

  1. ArchieWoodbine

    ArchieWoodbine Member

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    Very sad news from South London this morning: BTP are reporting that a railway operative has died after being struck by a train. I've also seen a company email confirming as such & that it occured in the small hours of the morning. Next-of-kin have been informed.

    This is the first track worker to be fatally struck by a train in several years, I believe? Not that there haven't been some very serious near-misses of late.

     
    Last edited: 6 Nov 2018
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  3. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Definitely gave me a bit of a jolt when I read it just before going to work today. The worst news - thoughts to all concerned.

    Without saying too much, the worker was particularly unfortunate as to where they were struck. They've ended up on a bit of track where it could be deceptively quick for trains to emerge - and it's a well-used line as well. That being said, the last I heard it was being treated as "unexplained", and it may take some time for the BTP and RAIB to officially and properly investigate how this happened.

    This is also not the only incident of a possibly* similar nature today (although it's the most serious of them by a long long way), which is perhaps even more worrying. Appropriate access controls are now in place for railway staff across the region. This does have the potential to delay the response to some incidents, indeed it already has, so I would urge the public to be patient with frontline staff if anything seems to be taking longer than usual to deal with.

    *as yet, not fully investigated
     
  4. HLE

    HLE Established Member

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    Very sad news. No doubt the RAIB have been all over that one.
     
  5. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    Terribly sad news that one of our railway colleagues hasn't gone home at the end of the day. Awful.
     
  6. robert7111a

    robert7111a Established Member

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    Yes, thoughts with family

    Can't believe with all the safe systems of work these days and health & safety regs etc, incidents like this can still occur.... :frown:
     
  7. NoOnesFool

    NoOnesFool Member

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    Very sad indeed. Life is very precious. It's hard to imagine what their family are going through right now.
     
  8. Please Explain

    Please Explain Member

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    Drama at Purley-wurley yet again.. Sad to hear...
     
  9. Adam0984

    Adam0984 Member

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    There was one at Leeds a few years back involving a track worker unfortunately it was a trainee driver driving doing traction training on 333s
     
  10. Pete_uk

    Pete_uk Member

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    It's a reminder of how anyone we know and love could be gone in a flash.
     
  11. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    The best place to read about how track workers and railway workers are killed on a semi regular basis is the industry magazines. I think its Right Track that has a strip across the bottom telling you about death and injury.

    There is also the Quarterly Safety Performance Report which lists each incident, weights it and ranks it accordingly. It also counts the number of suicides, platform injuries and gives a good overview of the latest trends and statistics.

    I remember an incident a couple of years back where one of our Drivers clipped a PWay worker and the resulting investigation implicated the Driver of the train to be at fault. Thankfully they were exonerated. I wonder if this was Driver error.
     
  12. nickswift99

    nickswift99 Member

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    For those of us who aren't drivers, can someone explain how such events could be driver error? I can imagine circumstances in a possession with PWay around machinery where a driver could fail to follow an instruction but struggle to understand how a driver could be at fault on line that is subject to normal running.
     
  13. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Failure to blow the horn. Failure to use the brake in an emergency.
     
  14. nickswift99

    nickswift99 Member

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    Thanks. Both of these would require the driver to observe someone on or about the line? Depending on the speed of the train and the sighting distance this, sadly, may not have any bearing on the outcome.
     
  15. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Absolutely and any RAIB report will no doubt that that into consideration and I'm sure the pretty OS maps will highlight all the details.

    Actions of all those involved, including what action the Driver took, will be considered. Was there a look out, how was the worksite protected, and TSR/ESRs in place, how were the workers warned of any oncoming train etc.

    It also gets discussed at internal development days and sometimes there may be a reenactment of the incident and sometimes even forward facing cctv and any video evidence presented. RED may even do a briefing video. (It's an internal briefing program.)

    For those interested in statistics. This is the first workforce fatality with a train in 11 years. There was 1 workforce fatality (13/6/2017) where a subcontractor had a 650kg electric bogie fall and crush him to death. There was also 165 major injuries.

    293 Passenger fatalities with 362 major injuries. There was also 4 passenger fatalities from incidents. I can detail each if you like.
     
    Last edited: 8 Nov 2018
  16. 4069

    4069 Member

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    Sorry, no. The last workforce fatality involving a train was at Newark in January 2014.
     
  17. ge-gn

    ge-gn Member

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    That's right. Unusual as it was the lookout who was struck.
     
  18. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Apologies. This is correct.

    I misread this section.
    https://www.rssb.co.uk/Library/risk.../annual-safety-performance-report-2017-18.pdf


    https://www.rssb.co.uk/Library/risk...eporting/2015-07-aspr-full-report-2014-15.pdf
    Added for clarity
     
  19. Sunset route

    Sunset route Member

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    This is home territory and a lot was said on shift changeover. Thoughts with the train driver and the track workers family. This was truly a most tragic event that has had and is going to have a major effect on how certain things are done and will be done in the future. Any loss of life on the railway is one too many let alone a railway worker.
     
  20. NoOnesFool

    NoOnesFool Member

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    Out of interest, do trackworkers have any additional training on track-side safety than say a driver would have, or is it bog standard across all safety critical staff?
     
  21. Intermodal

    Intermodal Member

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    It's not standard. It depends on the TOC. Some TOCs will train traincrew to the same standard as Network Rail staff but I believe most companies use slightly less training than NR staff get. After all, train crew are not on the tracks as much as track workers.
     
  22. ainsworth74

    ainsworth74 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    An update has been provided by the RAIB into this desperately sad accident:

    Due to the lack of public information and to avoid needless speculation or more worryingly accusations of blame regarding this incident this thread is now locked. Once more detail comes to light, most likely via the publication of the report, please do let the Forum Staff know and we will look into opening this thread for comments at that time.

    Many thanks,
    ainsworth74
     
  23. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Opened following the publication of the RAIB report but please ensure discussion stays on topic. Thank you.
     
  24. 2HAP

    2HAP Member

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    The RAIB report mentions the practice of "ghosting". This should properly be called obtaining a pecuniary advantage by misrepresentation. Other offences may also apply. Offenders should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, including prison sentences.
     
  25. _toommm_

    _toommm_ Established Member

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    From https://www.gov.uk/government/news/report-072019-fatal-accident-at-stoats-nest-junction-purley :

    At around 00:28 hrs on the morning of 6 November 2018, a passenger train from London Victoria to Three Bridges, travelling at about 69 mph (111 km/h), struck and fatally injured a track worker in the vicinity of Stoats Nest Junction, near Purley. The accident occurred after the track worker had placed equipment on the track as part of the arrangements for the protection of an engineering possession. Having placed the protection equipment, the track worker then walked along the track until he reached the end of the protected area, and continued walking with his back to rail traffic on an open line. He may have been going to look at some lineside equipment, and believed that no trains would approach on the line he was walking along. He was probably fatigued, and may have been distracted by personal issues linked to the fact that a second person, the possession support assistant who was supposed to be with the track worker, was not present as he had not attended for work that night.

    Underlying factors associated with the accident were the nature of the work which exposed the track worker to risk while he was putting out protection for the possession; that the labour supplier’s management processes had not sufficiently identified and addressed the risk of fatigue among zero hours contracted staff; and that the labour supplier’s management processes had neither identified nor prevented staff absenting themselves from work without being detected.

    The RAIB has made two recommendations and identified three learning points. One recommendation is addressed to Network Rail, to improve the way its labour suppliers manage the risks associated with the use of workers on zero hours contracts, in particular the management of their lifestyle and fatigue. The second recommendation is addressed to Vital Human Resources Ltd, the labour supplier, to commission an independent review of the actions it has taken following the accident at Stoats Nest Junction to assess their effectiveness in detecting and preventing the type of behaviour seen in the accident, and reduce the risks from fatigue. The RAIB has previously made recommendations about reducing the exposure of staff to risk while carrying out possession protection duties, and these are still being considered by the railway industry.

    A learning point highlights the need for safety-critical staff to be aware that distraction caused by family issues or other employment may affect their fitness for duty. Other learning points highlight the importance of track workers being alert to the risks on the railway, even when they believe that they are working under protection, and the limitations of the railway industry’s ‘Sentinel’ system if it is used for establishing the presence of staff on site.

    Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said:
    This sad accident was the first in more than four years involving the death of a track worker who was struck by a train.

    When workers are employed on a casual basis on zero hours contracts, there can be great pressure for them to try and juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet. The possible effects of such patterns of employment on fatigue and fitness for work are significant. We are therefore recommending that the railway industry reviews the way it manages the use of staff on zero hours contracts, to minimise the risk associated with this pattern of work.

    The continuing requirement for people to go onto the track to place and remove red lamps and explosive detonators, as part of the arrangements for protecting engineering work on the railway, is something that RAIB has queried before. Following a fatality at Reading in 2007, and again after a near-miss in north London in 2017, we recommended that the railway industry should find ways of eliminating the need for people to be exposed to the risk of being struck by trains in these circumstances.

    Modern technology means that there are many ways in which the position of trains can be established, and warnings given to drivers and to track workers, if a train movement goes beyond a safe limit. I believe that the industry should continue to explore ways of eliminating the need for Victorian methods of protection on the twenty-first century railway. It is deeply saddening that another person has died while putting down protection for his fellow railway workers- there must be a better way.

    The need to better manage the continuing risk to those who work on the tracks has again been highlighted by the tragic death of two track workers who were struck and killed by a train at Margam, near Port Talbot, on 3 July. RAIB has started a detailed investigation into the causes of this dreadful event. This will clearly identify the lessons to be learnt and any necessary recommendations for the improvement of safety.

    My thoughts are with all those affected by both these tragic accidents.

    It truly is awful reading about this kind of topic.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2019
  26. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Tbh, I'm really trying hard right now to moderate what I really want to say to you......

    Hope you read the whole thing, about how the guy was on zero hours contract and had to find other work to make a living.

    Hope you read the bit about how the guy was having to work as a delivery driver during the day, no doubt on another zero hour contract.

    Hope you understand the stress the guy who was killed was under , because he was trying to help out his brother...

    Try walking in the shoes of others and come down from the pedestal you've put yourself on.

    The report is a tragic realisation of modern day working practices for many, and no people wonder why the unions decide to defend jobs with decent working conditions....
     
  27. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Whilst the circumstances are different, is this not a similar underlying cause to the Clapham Junction collision? Underpaid staff working long stretches without rest to earn extra, with mistakes resulting?
     
  28. theironroad

    theironroad Established Member

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    Indeed.

    While all the Clapham s&t workers were working in the same job, the only way to make a decent living was to work all the hours they could , which is why the tech who miswired had worked 13 weeks without a day off.

    These days ZHCs mean it's working all hours, but for different employers.
     
  29. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    There is no indication of that in the report; he hadn't been working particularly long hours in the previous couple of days, but had little sleep and had spent the day decorating at a friend's house.
     
  30. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    Quite, and thus more difficult to monitor. But this is a problem created by the culture of competing private firms and subcontracted work. In the present economic climate people on casual contracts will want to "make hay whilst the sun shines" as they may not know how much work is upcoming.

    Whilst reprehensible, it can be understood why these practices arose. And given the reference in the report to the assistant not even attending work and this being common, the staff presumably knew that supervision was sufficiently absent that it would not be detected.
     
  31. Tom B

    Tom B Established Member

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    The second member of staff not attending work though was as he was excessively tired having been driving a delivery van during the day and rostered to work for the agency firm at night.
     

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