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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Strat-tastic, 3 Jul 2019.
What is red zone working?
In the recent report into a near miss at Peterborough, the RAIB describe the "lookout warning" safe system of work as:
Working with all lines open to traffic (trains) with lookouts as protection.
Green Zone is where all lines are blocked via line blockages or possessions.
There is a hierarchy that has to be followed.
And, as mentioned previously, it is a safe system.
It is a safe system but only as safe as the individuals implementing it.
Every job has to be planned as green zone but if all options have been exhausted you then revert to red zone. This is classed as the least preferred option.
Least prefered option, and not permitted in many locations.
Correct, hence my opinion that it will be outlawed in all locations.
I doubt that it will; I'm sure may incidents have happened like this in the past and we still have red zone working.
My comment was based on red zone working per-se not the incident itself.
I understand. I was just trying to be extra cautious.
It has been banned in some areas.and highly likely to be banned in others if not all.
Oh OK. I didn't know that. Sorry.
I think that this may prompt an investigation into areas where this could happen again and introducing safety features to stop it from occurring again. One time is too many.
Totally agree. There is an investigation into EVERY accident, no matter how small. Even a bruised foot from a hammer hit has to have a level 1 investigation.. this will be a massive investigation and measures put in place.
The same can be said for Green Zone as well. Green Zone is all well and good, as long as it's planned properly and you are indeed within that Green Zone. Any safe system is only safe if it's properly planned, implemented, and the right system for the right job.
I personally think it’s ok as long as you have the correct personnel in place. I won’t put any staff on a COSS course or a lookout course if I don’t think they are ready.
I utilise my own staff when I scope works or do inspections, that’s because I trust them. I have also worked under a COSS’s safe system of work and felt anything but safe.
I disagree that red zone working will be outlawed. Quite simply, it cannot be outlawed otherwise maintenance would grind to a stop if it was required that trains be stopped from running for any little task that requires someone to go trackside.
If you feel that a method of working is unsafe it is your duty under Health & Safety law to report this and, if necessary, to stop work until the matters have been addressed. That you don't trust anyone other than your own staff (even though they will have been trained to the same standard) or that there have been deficiencies in the setting up of methods of working does not of itself justify the removal of this as a method of working.
Yes I agree, that said, the majority of serious incidents happen in red zone working and that’s why it is a ‘last resort’.
There is always the risk of human error and that applies to any industry.
That sounds very much like any other aspect of the operational railway then. Standards can only inform and guide individuals - ultimately they have to act safely to maintain a safe environment.
Yes you did. But you were also suggesting that it should be outlawed everywhere, which I think is a knee-jerk reaction to a situation that will be under investigation for a while yet. It may still be discovered that a breakdown in the methods of working may not be the only causal factor and that there were other failings elsewhere that lead to this tragedy. Until such time as the RAIB have finished their investigation and published their report we can do nothing but speculate, which is a very poor basis on which to draw any meaningful conclusions or recommendations.
There have been numerous cases of people being mistaken in their belief that they were on a blocked line, especially recently. It happens. One little slip, an assumption or a misreading, and you're on an open line, thinking you're safe when you're far from it. As much as you still keep your wits about you green zone it can lead to a false sense of security, with red zone you're ready to get out at any moment. We need to remain aware that green zone might be safer, but the risk is far from negligible.
Not once did I say it SHOULD be outlawed everywhere.. Please point me to where I said that..
Read carefully and you will see i said it is likely that it will be banned everywhere, and I know this as it has been spoken of in the past so it isn’t drawing meaningless conclusions.
More green zone working and an overloaded signaller(s) are a bad combination, especially at some locations with multiple LBs that are given up and retaken for the passage of trains as well as the usual mix of T3s. All that is happening is the risk is moving from one group of workers to another with the added danger that those on the track will believe that they are totally protected. The whole process of safe working on the track needs looking at, especially to see if any new technologies can be used to protect track workers that directly locks out signalling controls (not including bi-direction lockouts that already exist).
The conflict of an ever increasingly busy railway and the need to put workers on the track to maintain it is not going to go away but the difficulty and pressure level keeps on rising.
I'm afraid that's no longer possible. All of your posts preceding mine were very quickly edited to show no content and then this discussion was split off from another thread.
Let's move on please folks.
That’s odd as I can see them all..
Agreed with all of the above.
In response to the part I've added bold formatting to, this technology does exist, although I'm not sure if it's a trial installation or just rare.
One issue with it is that it increases the time needed to handback as you have to go to one of several lockout devices to hand it back. That's the problem with all additional protection - it takes time and resources.
We need to completely rethink protection. Line blockages and T3s are becoming increasingly shorter and shorter in duration. Unassisted lookout is falling out of favour. We will never completely remove risk, but there must be a way to do more. If mobile technology and communications were more reliable than it is I could dream of the COSS and signaller having to collaborate on the hand back of line blockages and positive confirmation of location and signal protection upon taking them, but alas it is not. Not to mention the monetary and time costs involved in such a process.
I have no knowledge of the specific working issues here, but ultimately there comes a point with all health and safety improvements where a step change is required.
I see various posters saying that Red Zone working is safe if the rules are followed. That may be right, but most safety critical industries in the UK eliminated most unsafe practices (ie those where, even if everyone does what they are supposed to do, accidents are still likely) decades ago. Further improvement is almost always about reducing the opportunity for people, either inadvertently or deliberately, to do what they are not supposed to do.
Incremental improvements will grind out opportunities for inappropriate behaviour up to a particular accident rate, but eventually things will plateau and there will be little or no further improvement. Getting beyond that plateau requires the step change.