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The Shield



Safer and smarter


ISSUE 23, APRIL 2019

MEET THE Wood family – dad Gavin and his sons Craig and Glenn. Together they play a vital role in keeping people safe on the railway. Full story on page 7 >>

Dummy run

Youth and experience

Safe access







First Person The end of the last Control Period gives us the opportunity to reflect upon everything that we have achieved over the past five years. As the Network Rail Southern Regional Director, I look back with great pride in what we have delivered and the passionate people who work on our railway. Two great examples of what we are delivering are featured in this edition.

A brand new station at Meridian Water is supporting a wider regeneration programme which will see 10,000 homes built and thousands of new jobs created in the area. At Ewell West there has been some fantastic engagement with the local community as the life-expired footbridge is replaced with a fully accessible bridge. In addition, our safety record has gone from strength to strength. Five years ago, we were sending 132 people home with injuries from work; last year we reduced this to 43 people. Can we reduce this to zero so that everyone gets home safe every day… and if not, why not?

However, we must do all this and more over the next five years. With a focus on putting the passenger first, we need to do everything we can to support train performance. We need to deliver every project on time so that there are no delays to the operational railway and we need to deliver this efficiently so that money can be spent elsewhere on the railway. Thank you for everything you have achieved in the last Control Period and all that I know you will achieve in the next.

Laurence Whitbourn Regional Director IP Southern

BETTER EVERY DAY WE ARE working safer and smarter – it’s official!

Stats show that over the last Control Period (CP5) 2014 to 2019, there were far fewer people getting hurt and many more Close Calls being reported. The significant drop in Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) in the Southern region makes it one of the best in Network Rail. Back in 2015, LTIFR stood at 0.66, but by March this year the figure had fallen to 0.18. That means that five years ago, 132 people were returning home with injuries but last year this was reduced to 43. And, while only 305 Close Calls were recorded in the first period of 2014, this has been increased to more than 1,600 per period in the last year – meaning more people were spotting potential dangers and stopping others from being hurt as a result. Establishment of the Southern Shield Charter and several other key initiatives – including the launch of The Shield itself – have all played their role.

See the graphic on p8 for more.

The Shield


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THIS rescue from height looks dramatic but thankfully it was just a training exercise. No one was hurt in reality – the role of the injured colleague in this instance was played by a mannequin named Jack.

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Using a dummy allowed emergency services teams to put their safety and rescue procedures to the test with a lifesized and realistically clothed and weighted ‘patient’. Jack was put into action at an Osborne work site in Hampshire where he enabled crews from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) of South Central Ambulance Service to refine their vital life-saving skills. Matt Whale, Senior Site Manager at Osborne, said: “We work hard in the construction industry to mitigate incidents, reduce the chance of an accident and are on our toes to report near misses, but it’s so good to know that if the worst- case scenario occurred we would be well looked after by the emergency services.” HART carried out three different mock exercises during the day-long event, including an impalement, a crush incident and working from height rescue. This exercise took place at a road work site, however many of the rescue scenarios are similar and dummies have also been used for similar training events on the railway. The Shield featured a team from BAM Nuttall using a mannequin at Stewarts Lane depot back in 2016.



KEEPING the public safe on or around our sites is a primary concern for everyone in Southern Shield. But safety conscious colleagues from BAM Nuttall had an unusual opportunity to show their expertise and quick thinking. Staff working on the Balcombe station footbridge project in West Sussex were quickly on the scene when a rail replacement bus collided with trees after swerving to avoid another bus. A number of passengers suffered cuts, bruises and other minor injuries. Luckily BAM staff nearby were alerted and able to help passengers to safety and provide first aid. FIRST-AID TRAINED “We had a 500-tonne crane on site and four articulated lorries on site at the time,” said site manager Dan Lafferty. “So we moved these around and made room for the damaged bus to be taken off the road and away from traffic. “The front window of the upper deck and some of the side columns were badly damaged. One person had some nasty cuts but luckily it seemed no one was too badly hurt. “We are all first-aid trained so were able to help out until ambulance crews arrived very shortly afterwards. It was the right thing to do in that situation.” The Balcombe footbridge replacement was being carried out as part of the recent nine-day blockade of the Brighton Main line. The bus was able to be driven away for repair soon afterwards and the work continued as planned.


SOMETHING IN THE WATER The Shield finds out how a blend of youth and experience is delivering safer and smarter work at Meridian Water

Alan Merrigan

Jack Tame

SUCCESSFUL projects need a good mix of skills and knowledge to deliver safety and performance.

At Meridian Water in Enfield, where a two-year project to build a new station is nearing completion, engineers fresh from college operate alongside workers with decades of experience to great effect. With a construction career spanning more than 30 years, General Foreman Alan Merrigan from VolkerFitzpatrick is one of the most experienced people on site. Working alongside him is Graduate Engineer Jack Tame, who joined from university in 2018, and relishes the opportunity to put his training into practice. “Graduates bring new ways of thinking and are a fresh pair of eyes on site,” said Jack. “While we don’t have the same onsite experience as others, we have no preconceptions and our attitude is not that ‘things have always been done this way’, especially regarding safety. “Safety forms a huge part of our training as civil engineers and we feel empowered to speak up. We are given a lot of responsibility and our views are respected even though we are new to the industry.”

In contrast to Jack, Alan started in the construction industry straight from school, in an era when attitudes to safety were very different. “In those days you’d see people walking round in cut-down jeans, with no hard hat and wearing their hi-vis around their waist,” said Alan. “I shudder to think about how we used to work at height, using scaffolding that had been just thrown together.” SAFETY CULTURE As well as huge improvements in technology, PPE and policy since then, there has been a significant change in safety culture on the railway – something Alan says is helped by Jack’s generation of workers. “People joining the industry now are taught to challenge whenever they see something that looks wrong, and they aren’t afraid to do so,” said Alan. “Many years ago it was normal for people to keep quiet or for bosses to shout and bawl at mistakes. Quite rightly, that’s all changed now.” Jack certainly appreciates the wisdom that those with more experience bring to the workplace.

“Alan is one of those people who you can always go to with questions,” he said. “He’s seen everything there is to see and will always have an answer – often something you’ve not thought of before.” Alan added: “You learn a lot about people in this role, for example when teams are likely to be less aware of risks such as immediately after a break. And no amount of training can really get you ready for working alongside a live line. That’s one of the main safety issues on this site, so I can pass on a lot of the things they need to look out for. “But for me every day’s a school day and people with my experience can learn as much from the younger guys as they can from us,” said Alan. “I find it exciting to learn about all the latest skills and techniques they bring. It helps everyone work together better and do a safer, more effective job.”


Meridian Water station is part of a wider regeneration programme which will see 10,000 new homes and thousands of jobs for the area. The station is expected to accommodate up to 4 million passengers, over the next 20 years. It will have a modern design, three platforms, lift access, a footbridge and a retail space. Work began in November 2017 and is due to be completed later this year. The new station, which will replace Angel Road station in Edmonton, is being funded by Enfield Council with construction work delivered by VolkerFitzpatrick.

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The Shield found out how workers building an accessible bridge are taking safety to new heights

IT MAY only be a couple of miles from Chessington’s famous adventure park, but the safety measures in place at Ewell West station ensure that bridge replacement work is far from a white-knuckle ride. The team on site are building a new fully accessible bridge across the track, including stair and hydraulic lift access. This will replace an old life-expired footbridge, which will be taken down under possession on completion of the work in September. A key milestone was marked on 3 February when the steel lift shaft structures were lowered into position using a 100-tonne crane during an overnight possession. In the same month, the site also achieved Route to Gold status. As well as sharing limited space with the public in a busy station, Site Manager Adam Szeremeta (inset) from Osborne, outlined the other significant safety challenges. “Working at height is clearly a risk,” he said. “We’ve placed an additional Haki staircase just off the main cantilever scaffold on both platforms which has access to each level of the scaffold, this makes access so much saf-

er and easier, eliminating the need to use access hatches. “Buried services (high voltage cables) are also a key risk area. When we are excavating trenches it’s vital that everyone has got the right permits and that we have accurate information about what’s there. “There are also deep open excavations for drainage, which require a full temporary works design proper barriers and clear signage. We use the DECT Comms system on site. This enables the plant operator and banksman to have hands-free communication. It keeps a safe distance between people and plant and makes communication clearer.” Indeed, communication is key to getting everyone home safe. As well as holding thorough briefings Adam encourages the team to call Time Out Take Fives wherever possible. “A recent case was when we were setting up a scaffold tower,” he said. “During our pre-use inspection an operative noticed that a rivet holding the main working platform was damaged. A Time Out Take Five was called and the platform was then quarantined and replaced.”

Always use a safety harness when working a


COMMUNITY CARE As well as being proud of their safety record the team at Ewell are delighted with the way they have engaged the local community. “There’s a lot of strong local feeling about this project,” said Adam. “The residents love their village and the listed station building. They are very protective of the look of the area and along with the council have been very closely involved, including having a say in the final finish and materials used.” The team are planting trees to screen the bridge from neighbouring properties and as a local legacy project they are building raised flower beds at a local school. “We’ve listened to people and are really putting back into the community,” said Adam. “I’ve never known a project where local people have been so closely involved and we are lucky to have this good relationship.”

at height, unless other protection is in place

PAUL BURTOO, GENERAL FOREMAN, OSBORNE “My job is to make sure that no corners are being cut. That’s very important to me because I’ve worked on sites where there have been very serious falls. Seeing someone get hurt is a terrible thing to go through, so I’m always looking for where an accident might happen. “Public safety is also important. At the end of the school day there are a lot of children on the platforms – we have to take extra care to make sure they are clear of our site. “On a personal level fatigue

management is an issue as I travel just over an hour. I try to get a good night’s sleep and use different routes to work.”

DAVE HANNAN, BRICKLAYER, OLIVER CONNELL “The scaffolding on this site is very good, which makes working at height safer – it isn’t always where I’ve worked. We are helped here with debris netting around the scaffolding and brick guards which protect against anything falling on to people or the track below. “It’s also important to make sure the scaffolding and walkways are clean so that it’s safe to move around.

“One of the frustrating parts of the job especially at this time of year, is when the weather isn’t right. If it’s too cold or too wet, it’s not possible to lay any bricks at all.”

RICHARD CAREY, GROUNDWORK FOREMAN, OLIVER CONNELL “One of the biggest safety risks on this site is around the drainage trench. “The first thing I do each day is to check the site from the previous night, making sure the trench is still properly supported and check for any leaks or damage to the machinery. “It makes a big difference when you have somewhere warm dry and tidy to go for a break and the welfare facilities here are good. We

noticed the step to the welfare unit was too big, so we called a ‘take five’, pointed it out, and a new step was put in. A small detail, but hopefully it has prevented a fall.”

MIKE MORRIS, SITE KEEPER / HV COMPETENT PERSON, DEPLOY “Any site where work is within one metre of high voltage cables needs a written assessment and an HV competent person on site. “I’m there to follow that assessment and make sure all the rules are followed. When the work needs to be within a metre – which is most days – it’s my responsibility to ring the electrical control operator and get the cable switched off. “I genuinely enjoy keeping people safe and the biggest improve-

ments I’ve seen on the railway are to do with exclusion zones and PPE. Briefings are also very thorough now. You are never second guessing what you’ve got to do.”




ANYWHERE’S IN A GOOD PLACE IT’S NEVER too late to change your lifestyle, and Anywhere Muriro is proof of that.

After cutting down on beer and carbs, eating healthier food and hitting the gym, the rail division Commercial Manager for BAM Nuttall says he has never felt better, both physically and mentally. Anywhere’s health kick was sparked after one of BAM Nuttall’s annual health checks. “I knew I was overweight but getting healthier was something I was always putting on the backburner until that point,” he said. “It’s scary though, when you hear about the issues relating to not watch-

Anywhere Muriro

ing your weight; diabetes, hypertension, high blood pressure and heart problems. I’m over 50 and my father passed away after having diabetes, so that was at the back of my mind too. Anywhere (his unusual name involves a family joke and a misunderstanding when his birth was registered!) was also encouraged in his efforts by his wife, who had started her own weight-loss plan. “It was a strict four-week diet,” he said. “At first I thought there was no way I would stick to it but I gave it a try. There was a lot of fruit, veg, grilled meat and fish and cutting right down on beer and carbs was a big challenge for me.

The third week was the hardest, but I eventually lost 15 kilos.” Anywhere says the difference it has made to his outlook and wellbeing has been enormous. “I feel like a new person,” he said. “I’m healthier and my mind is fresher too. I’m less fatigued and more focused – that really helps me at work. I’ve joined a gym and I take more walks at home after work. I’ve also discovered the health benefits of drinking more water. It’s important you look after your body just as much as you look out for the hazards on track. Our bodies are complex machines and we should treat them with respect.”

Know Your Numbers Know Your Numbers is a free and confidential health assessment that gives you the tools and information to manage and make decisions about your health. It’s quick and easy – it takes just 15 minutes – and you will find out your body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol levels and other valuable information. To find out more, search for the Know Your Numbers toolbox talk on

Are you ready for a tick attack? Some simple steps to protect yourself against Lyme disease this summer


SPRING MAY have sprung but the warmer weather could also spring a nasty surprise – thanks to blood-sucking bugs and beastly bacteria. Lyme disease is an infectious disease often transmitted to humans by ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. What’s worse it may be a while before you even realize you’ve been infected, with symptoms sometimes appearing only days or even weeks after the bite. The bacteria can even hang around without causing symptoms only to cause health problems much later. It can be treated effectively if it’s detected early on. But if it’s not treated or treatment is delayed, there’s a risk you could develop severe and long-lasting symptoms. HOW IS LYME DISEASE SPREAD? If a tick bites an animal carrying Lyme disease bacteria the tick can also become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them. They don’t jump or fly, but climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood. Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown vegetation. They’re common in woodland but can also be found in urban areas with overgrown vegetation. So people who spend a lot of time working outside, such as such as rail workers, are at greater risk. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE THE RISK? Wear long sleeved PPE. Not only keep you safe and visible it helps reduce the risk of bites and stings Use insect repellent on exposed skin Inspect your skin for ticks, particularly at the end of the day, including your head, neck and skin folds If you do spot a tick taking a bite, it’s important to remove it quickly and correctly.

HOW DO I REMOVE A TICK? Some vets and pet shops sell inexpensive tick removal devices, which look a bit like a credit card with a forked edge. If no tools are available, use a fine thread, something like cotton or dental floss. Tie a single loop of thread around the tick’s mouthparts, as close to the skin as possible, then pull upwards and outwards without twisting. EARLY SYMPTOMS Many people with early-stage Lyme disease develop a distinctive circular rash at the site of the tick bite, usually around three to 30 days after being bitten. Some people with Lyme disease also experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages, such as fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, a high temperature, chills and neck stiffness. WHEN TO SEE YOUR GP You should see your GP if you develop any of the symptoms described above after being bitten by a tick, or if you think you may have been bitten.

Dos and donts DO start by cleansing the tweezers/ tool with antiseptic. After removal, clean the wound and the tool with antiseptic. DO wash hands thoroughly afterwards. DO NOT squeeze the body of the tick, as this may cause the head and body to separate, leaving the head embedded in your skin. DO NOT use your fingernails to remove a tick. Infection can enter via any breaks in your skin. DO NOT crush the tick’s body as this may splatter infected blood! DO NOT try to burn the tick off, apply petroleum jelly or any other chemical. Any of these methods can cause discomfort to the tick, resulting in regurgitation.

Remove ticks safely with a tick removal device

A disease-carrying tick – don’t worry it’s not really this big!


stayRAIL safe inLIVES– the sunshine page 8




Gavin, Craig and Glenn Wood

INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS DAD GAVIN and his two sons all work in rail planning and resourcing for Osborne and have more than 70 years’ experience between them. The family history goes back even further with Gavin’s father having also worked on the railway. The Woods play an important role in ensuring work on the railway is properly planned and safe – and their professional paths cross regularly. To keep things professional Gavin, a Possession Planner, insisted on some ground rules. “From day one, I said ‘call me Gavin at work and Dad at home’. I said I’d treat them like everyone else. I’d support them, but they’d get no favouritism.” It was Glenn who first followed in his father’s footsteps – to Gavin’s concern at first. “I left college and didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Glenn, now a Lead Planner. “Dad gave me an opportunity to work at Malla Rail where he was at the time, but he said I should look for something else after six months. “He worried at first when I was out on track, but 20 years on we are still working together.”

For some families, the railway seems to be in the blood. That certainly seems to be true for Gavin, Craig and Glenn Wood Gavin added: “I’d seen some bad things happen to people in my time, so the last thing I wanted was for my sons to work on track.” Safety culture was certainly very different when Gavin started working as a welder on the railway nearly 40 years ago. He recalled: “For my induction I was told ‘this is a track, this is a conductor rail - don’t touch it’. That was it! “It’s completely different now, thankfully. PPE is much better and the culture is about speaking out if something isn’t safe.” SUPPORT EACH OTHER A few years after Glenn, it was Craig’s turn to join the industry. He now works as a Safety Critical Resource Manager, a role which takes him out to live work sites most weeks. “Hearing dad and Glenn talking about their work around the dinner table

meant I picked things up which were useful when I started,” Craig said. “Things have certainly changed in terms of safety since then. For me, the key improvement is with briefings. Time is taken to go through everything and explain the reasons why safety measures are in place. Communication is far better.” All agree that having family in the business makes them especially aware of the need to plan properly and keep everyone safe. They also appreciate the support they can offer each other. “We get on as friends as well as family. We always know we can turn to each other for advice,” added Glenn. As for the next generation, Craig knows his own young sons will be in much safer hands if they chose to follow the family tradition. “If my boys want to work on the railway, I’ll be happy,” he said. “I know safety will be even better than it is now.”

See it, fix it, raise a Close Call

The Woods at Reigate station




SAFER & SMARTER THERE have been some significant ups and downs in Control Period 5 (2014 to 2019) – and that’s good news for everyone’s safety. As the number of Close Calls has gone up, the number of people injured in the Southern region has fallen. Here are some of the numbers – and some of the key initiatives which have driven this huge improvement.

Dec 2014:

Safety Leadership Team formed

The Shield Mar 2015:

The Shield newspaper launched

Oct 2014:

Apr 2015:

Track Access Protocol

First Southern Shield event

Aug 2014:

Cut 5 gloves mandatory FEEL SAFE TO ASK

Jun 2014:

Southern Shield Charter

March 2015: 0.66 March 2019: 0.18

Dec 2015:

Time Out Take 5 launched



(LTIFR) Jan 2019:

Induction video launched

Per Period 2018: 1,600

Feb 2016:

DC Isolation & Strapping Protocol

Period 1 2014: 305


Aug 2017:

Launch of Feel Safe to Ask

Jan 2017:

Apr 2017:

Live Conductor Rail Protocol

Back to Work Briefings launched

“There has been a fundamental change in safety culture across the region. The improvement in accident statistics and the increase in staff calling out unsafe procedures and practices shows that safety messages are hitting home.” Gareth White, Operations Manager BAM Nuttall

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The Shield April 2019  

The Shield April 2019