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Mon June 21 2021

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AmcoGiffen told to step up safety appraisal

10 Jun Rail contractor AmcoGiffen has been told it should enhance its staff safety performance monitoring and appraisal.

Location of the fatal incident
Location of the fatal incident

The recommendation to tighten up on safety comes from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) following the death of an AmcoGiffen employee hit by a train.

The RAIB has published its report into an incident that took place on Wednesday 8th April 2020. At around 10:52 hrs, a passenger train, travelling at 90mph, struck and fatally injured a track worker on the West Coast main line near the village of Roade, Northamptonshire.

The accident happened because the track worker, who was the person in charge of the work with responsibilities as Controller of Site Safety, was walking along a line that was open to traffic and did not look towards the approaching train on hearing its warning horn. He had gone back onto the track after handing back a blockage of the line, which had been taken to isolate the overhead line equipment, a task which, it was later appreciated, did not need to be done every day. It is not possible to determine with certainty why the track worker decided to walk on the track with no protection, but it is probable he had a purpose in mind and that he believed that no trains were due on the line he was walking along. There is also witness evidence suggesting that he had become habituated to warnings from approaching trains.

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RAIB’s investigation found several factors which possibly led to this situation. The performance monitoring and appraisal arrangements for the track worker were inadequate and did not identify and address issues with compliance with rules, standards and procedures. The system of work in place for the site was inadequate for the work being undertaken and did not specify adequate arrangements to encourage compliance with safety rules, possibly affecting the behaviour of the track worker and others during the project. None of the assurance arrangements in place identified any non-compliant behaviours or the inadequate system of work.

RAIB has made two recommendations to AmcoGiffen relating to monitoring and developing the ongoing competence and performance of its staff, and ensuring compliance with its management procedures on new sites of work:

  1. AmcoGiffen should develop and implement formal performance monitoring and appraisal arrangements for identifying and developing the ongoing safety performance and competence of its work force, at all grades. The procedure should include elements of proactive monitoring of staff performance and competence, identify areas of concern, define development needs and monitor their implementation
  2. AmcoGiffen should review the management arrangements and resources that are intended to ensure that work is planned, undertaken and reviewed in compliance with its safety management systems, particularly in the early stages of establishing new projects and sites of work.

The report – Track worker struck by train near Roade, Northamptonshire 8 April 2020 – was published by the RAIB on 9th June 2021.

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