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The Shield


People plant – and NOT towhat do PAGE 6


A SAFE WINTER IN STORE WINTER evenings may be drawing in but there’s no dimming the commitment to safety on one of the region’s biggest rail construction projects at Gatwick Airport station. Specialist lighting, regular briefings, clear walkways and well-marked exclusion areas help reduce the risks associated with winter working, while a range of social distancing and sanitising measures keep workers protected from COVID-19. The £150m project to create a bigger, better, more accessible station, reached a significant landmark in November when the rebuilt platform 7 received its first service.

Demolition work has started on the footbridge and platforms 5 and 6, which will reopen in 2022, while work on a new concourse and staff offices is also underway. Paul Harwood, Network Rail Southern region’s investment director, said: “We know that fewer passengers are travelling by train or plane with the COVID crisis, but we are continuing to invest for the future.” Find out more and meet some of the construction team at Gatwick Airport station on pages 4-5

COVID-19 measures on site mean every tool is cleaned

Culture survey results

Are you a good neighbour?

From paper mills to paperwork







First Person THANK YOU to more than 1,300 of you who took the time to complete the Southern Shield Culture Survey. Telling us what you really think will help us make a real difference to our safety performance by allowing us to focus on the things that are important to you. As the Safety Leadership Team (SLT) sponsor for the Southern Shield Culture Working group, I am committed to finding ways of improving our working environment, processes and behaviours, because we all

deserve to be able to go home safely after work, every day. One of the areas you highlighted was being afraid to speak up over safety concerns and the lack of challenge as a result. Remember, you will always be supported by the SLT if you stop work over any safety concerns you have. Call a Time Out Take Five and you may save yourself or a colleague from serious injury. We all owe it to each other and to our loved ones to challenge unsafe situations whenever we see them. You can find more about this and the details of

CHILL, WE’VE GOT THIS the culture survey results in this edition of The Shield. Do have a safe, productive and happy Christmas and New Year. Mark Howard, project director – Gatwick station project, Costain

The Shield Hands up to ensure safer working This paper is produced for:

A SERIES of hand injuries has led to calls for a renewed emphasis on hand and finger protection. In November, an operative suffered a serious finger injury after trapping it under kerb stone during a manual lift. In another incident, a worker suffered a 5mm cut to his finger while using an angle grinder. Fortunately, his ‘Cut E’ gloves prevented a more serious injury. The most serious incident occurred when an operative taking track measurements put their hand on a rail. An adjacent engineering train was authorised to move and ran over the operative’s hand, resulting in the amputation of two fingers. Aimee Skelly-Burgess, health and safety manager, Network Rail, said: “We have seen a significant increase

in hand and finger injuries over the recent months. Hands are often the most vulnerable part of the body and any unintended interaction with tools or moving machinery can result in life changing injuries. If you can’t remove the risk, then take appropriate action to mitigate it. If you’re still unclear or if anything has changed, stop and Take Five.”

AS THE temperature drops and evenings get darker, these wise winter words will help everyone stay safe. ON SITE: • Maintain and use authorised and well-lit walking routes. Short cuts can result in slips, trips or falls, and mud becomes a hazard on otherwise safe walking surfaces • Order sufficient rock salt to keep walkways clear and slip-free during snow and frost • Check the weather forecasts so precautions can be implemented in a timely manner • Provide additional lighting for walkways, scaffolding and work sites • Deal with autumn leaf fall – wet leaves are a common cause of slips and falls • Have a procedure in place for snow removal • Keep absorbent mats around doorways to prevent internal floors from getting wet/muddy and regularly change them

• Identify low/rutted areas which will allow water to collect and level them off • Check fire extinguishers (particularly water and foam) to make sure they have an appropriate anti-freeze additive or are protected from frost. ON YOURSELF: • Wear multiple layers of PPE and thermal socks. Have spare, dry PPE and use the drying facilities • Keep your footwear in good condition and be careful when crossing uneven site areas. ON THE ROAD: • Ensure you have full vision and clear your windows of any ice and snow • Take food, drink and spare clothing in case of delays • Drive and brake to suit conditions and be aware of low winter sun • On icy roads, ensure you’re 20 seconds behind the vehicle ahead.


Written and designed by:


THE EXAMPLES on the right are the kind of poor safety behaviour that puts individuals and their colleagues at risk of serious harm. The statements were provided by Network Rail construction managers about real-life incidents they have witnessed. It is well-known across the construction industry that human behaviour (as opposed to poor equipment or procedures) is one of the main causes of accidents and injuries – but sometimes not reported. Often poor safety behaviour is due to short cuts being taken because of perceived pressure to finish a job. In both cases quoted construction managers stopped work, pointed out the risk and discussed alternatives. But it’s a conversation that shouldn’t happen in the first place. “We are still seeing incidents of people climbing the outside of towers, standing on rails or towers being incorrectly built,” says Paul Devoy, a member of the Southern Shield Safety Leadership Team (SLT). “We are concerned that all the precursors are there for a high severity accident to happen.”

A review by SLT also found that 50 per cent of ‘people and plant’ incidents, involved someone not adhering to an exclusion zone. To address the issue a new Toolbox Talk aims to get front line teams talking about safety behaviour and thinking about what they might do differently. SLT member Mark Howard added: “I recall the Paddington station incident last year when lots of people walked past unsafe activity that resulted in someone falling from a tower. This reflects the reality that we can all be braver and intervene if something unsafe is happening. We can all think about how we support people to challenge unsafe behaviours on the spot, and record this so we learn how to improve.” • The Toolbox Talk can be downloaded from the Southern Shield website at southernshield.co.uk

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want us to feature your team? get in touch at shield@networkrail.co.uk


YOU SAID… THE RESULTS from the Southern Shield Culture Survey are in – and they revealed some positives, as well as areas where we can still do better. Overall, there was a 20 per cent increase in responses, meaning more frontline workers are telling us what they think and feel about the safety culture on their sites. Positives included, improving scores for the following areas: • We look out for ourselves and each other

• Health and wellbeing is important to all • We believe we can go home safe every day • We recognise all accidents are unacceptable • We listen to each other.

There were three key areas where improvements need to be made, so that more people feel safe and we can ensure they get home safe every day. These included some of those surveyed agreeing that:

• We are sometimes afraid to speak up over safety concerns that affects us • We sometimes walk on by and don’t challenge • We feel that delivery sometimes takes priority over safety because of pressure to get the job done.

The results enable the Southern Shield’s Safety Leadership Team (SLT) to make necessary changes in these areas, as well as doing more of the things that make frontline

teams feel protected and valued. Mark Howard, project director for the Gatwick station project and SLT member said: “We had a fantastic response to the culture survey with some real positives. We also need to work harder to ensure safety and performance go hand in hand and that getting the job done, never results in safety being compromised. “We all know that delivering in a railway environment can be challenging, especially when things

don’t go to plan. However we need to provide the support that people can still work safely despite the delivery pressures.” Mark also welcomed the feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 with 32 per cent of respondents stating they had been affected. “We are very focused on supporting wellbeing particularly during these challenging times,” he added. You can read more and see a full breakdown of the results at www.southernshield.co.uk

These are some of the survey highlights “I personally look out for the safety of others outside of my own team, even if they work for another company”

“It is not achievable for us all to go home safe every day”

96% of participants agreed with 76% strongly agreeing

86% of participants disagreed – a 10% improvement on the last survey but still room to improve

“If I personally have a safety concern, I am able to speak up without any fear of negative consequences”

“In my workplace people are sometimes afraid to speak up regarding safety concerns”

93% participants agreed with this statement

44% agree with this – an improvement on the last survey but one of the main areas for action

“I feel production/delivery often takes priority over safety” 65% disagreed, but 35% agreed to some extent – an area for action


“I talk to my colleagues about both my wellbeing and theirs” 87% participants agreed – a 6% improvement

“In my workplace people walk by without challenging safety issues” 31% of respondents agree – another area for improvement

“My health and wellbeing has been affected by COVID-19”


68% participants disagreed with this statement but 32% agreed

In total 1340 people completed the 2020 culture survey. Statisticians tell us that this a good representative sample of our workforce due to both the number and the range of roles of people who took part.

Everyone home safe every day





FLYING VISIT Plastic screens are among the social distancing measures

Good lighting is important as evenings get darker

The Shield returns to Gatwick Airport to find out how the team are working under pandemic restrictions, while preparing for a busy and safe winter WHEN The Shield last visited Gatwick Airport station, work was well underway on a major project to improve platforms and access, as well as build a new concourse and offices for railway staff. That was in February, just weeks before the UK-wide coronavirus lockdown. While this has led to a massive reduction in rail passenger numbers and flights – and a lot of changes in the way work is carried out on site – the project continues. As well as hand sanitising stations, socially distanced seating and plastic screens in offices, another COVID-19 initiative is the conversion of empty freight containers into 100 individual welfare units. James Knowles, safety, health and environmental manager on the

project for principal contractor Costain, explains: “These cabins have their own toilet, drying room, a kettle, microwave, seating area and an equipment store. We’ve had very positive feedback from operatives. It means people can be properly distanced and they feel secure and safe.” On site, there’s a risk assessment for every task to make sure the right COVID-19 measures are in place. “People are now very familiar with coronavirus restrictions, so we make sure they don’t become complacent – reinforcing that message through our briefings and as often as we can throughout the day,” says James. The project team is currently preparing the ground for the new

concourse and staff offices. It means lots of plant movement, including a tower crane, on a crowded site, so clear walkways, fencing and detailed daily briefings are essential. It’s also a cable-free site. Rechargeable battery-operated tools are used for many jobs, meaning fewer trailing cables as trip hazards, while the job of banksmen remains crucial to keep people and plant apart. Continuing through the pandemic, safety remains a top priority – especially with darker, wetter and colder weather upon us. “Good lighting is important now, especially in walkways,” adds James. “We make sure everyone has warmer PPE if it’s needed and there are boot cleaning brushes, so indoor areas don’t become slippery.”

Safe working with plant is crucial

Always be sure the required plans and permits are in


VASEEM ALI Contract manager, Van Elle “The site changes every day, so the daily meeting with all the contractors is very important. We go through all our activities, how they interface with each other and the risks involved. For us, the piling contractors, lifting operations, open holes and concrete pouring are the key risks, which we manage with exclusion zones with barriers, and constant radio communication with each other. “Now the evenings are dark, there is very good lighting in place, which is important for such a busy site, plus there is a very good cleaning regime and regular COVID briefings. “There’s always room to improve this industry though. For example, I would make the type and colour of PPE standard across every sector.”

IAIN MCLEOD Temporary works manager, Costain “My role can cover anything from hoarding to demolition, so there are a huge number of different risks to consider. Working closely with specialist contractors is very important to ensure everything is done properly. “COVID has impacted how we do things. For example, the size of the Heras panels we used meant installing them wasn’t possible with social distancing, so we had to find an alternative and get it approved. “At the start of lockdown, I was working remotely but with the measures now in place, being here on site makes things much easier. It is a big, busy and intense site though – you need to keep your focus all the time.”

MATT ALFORD Section engineer, Costain

Contactless entry cards help keep gateways clean

“I’m an interface between senior engineers and the workers on site, making sure designs work in practice, and that materials and permits are in place. “My role is part office, part site-based and when you are coming and going between the two it’s important to make sure you are always switched on to what’s happening around you. “There’s a strict one-way system to help social distancing and hand sanitiser at every gate and entry point – it certainly makes you feel you are in a safe environment. You can have as many rules as you like but it’s down to individuals to take responsibility. Everyone does that here.”

GOOD DECISIONS AT GATWICK, a behavioural expert is based on site two days a week, helping the team understand what lies behind the decision-making processes that cause people to take risks or do the right thing. “One example was that moveable barriers were a temptation for people to take short cuts, so wherever possible Cleanliness is a priority during the COVID-19 pandemic

place, before you start a job or go on or near the line

we’ve replaced these with fixed ones,” says James. “It’s about learning from good practice and what drives it, as well as learning from Close Calls or incidents. It’s pleasing how everyone on site is now focused on understanding their behaviours. There’s a culture where people support each other and feel confident to raise any issues.”



SEE IT, FIX IT, REPORT IT If you find any issues or potential hazards on your site, raise a Close Call.

THE RISK BAROMETER In the barometer the short hand (inner semi-circle) points to the level of actual harm from accidents in the last 13 periods. The long hand (outer semi-circle) M E D I U M indicates the level of potential harm that could have occurred ENTIA from these actual OT L P events and other non-injury CTUA events, such as Close Calls.



LOOK at all the accidents just waiting to happen in this cartoon. It’s a fun drawing, but it has a serious message – not keeping people and plant at a safe distance could mean a worker, or member of the public, not going home safely. ‘People and plant’ is one of the areas covered by Southern Shield’s risk barometer. The barometer measures the actual harm from real accidents and compares this against the potential harm that could have occurred. It also looks at non-injury events such as Close Calls or observations from inspections. The barometer shows that accident figures alone don’t tell the full safety story. It may look like we are working safely, but there are still many risks – often caused by bad planning, inadequate risk identification, human error or poor safety behaviour. One of the main areas of concern around people and plant is a lack of suitable exclusion zones, or people using them as shortcuts.




Never enter the agreed exclusion zone, unless directed to by the person in charge



A note of thanks from residents This work in south London took place very close to people’s homes

NEVER MIND KYLIE AND JASON – WE CAN BE GOOD NEIGHBOURS TOO IT’S ALWAYS good to be a considerate neighbour. And with greater numbers of people at home during the day because of coronavirus restrictions, there’s more reason to keep noisy work to a minimum. For the team working just north of Kent House station in Beckenham, south London, the lineside residents were closer than most. The project, led by BAM Nuttall, was to stabilise an embankment by installing a 170-metre sheet pile wall. A 400-metre HV cable insertion was also carried out. That meant a lot of heavy machinery and noisy work directly behind back gardens. The planned access point also ran through the car park of a nearby college and on to a primary school playing field. NOISE CONTROL Being a good neighbour started with the design. The sheet pile was located in such a way that it could be installed during daylight weekday hours – avoiding noisy night-time work. Other

Instrumental break The team hit the right notes in dealing with one of the more unusual requests from a resident – to pause piling while she had her piano tuned. BAM and subcontractor Suttle Piling arranged a two-hour slot where no piling would take place, scheduling a safety tour instead, so the tuner could work in peace. Angus said: “As it turned out, on the day the weather was too humid for piano tuning, however we received a nice message thanking us for our accommodating break.” noise control measures were used, such as ‘echo barriers’ and hybrid powered generators. It wasn’t only about keeping the noise down. As a goodwill gesture, the team agreed to resurface part of the college car park early so it

would be ready for students to return for the new term. They also helped a neighbour who was unable to access the rear of her property as usual, by carrying a new shed roof through the work site and lifting it into position in her garden. “We also used logs from cleared vegetation to create wildlife habitats in the schools ‘conservation area’,” said Angus Hodgson, section engineer, BAM Nuttall. “And we carved out seats and stepping stones for the reception pupils’ play area, which the principal was very thankful for. Other logs were donated to the college staff and one load was donated to a local wood carver. “All residents were very friendly and understood the necessity of the work. Successful delivery of the project has been down to a real team effort and commitment from everyone including the site team, suppliers, subcontractors, Network Rail, BAM and support staff.” Paul Devoy, route delivery director,

It’s all about RESPECT – seven steps to being a good neighbour


EVVING – keep engine noise to a minimum. No engines idling or unnecessary revving, especially at night. Close doors quietly.




ATING – eating and smoking should always be done off site and during agreed breaks – not in public.

MPATHY – ensure our neighbours know how seriously we take our role. If you receive a complaint, handle it with understanding and courtesy.


HOUTING – loud conversations or shouting on site, especially at night is disturbing for neighbours, please keep to a minimum.

Network Rail, added: “The approach was to be as transparent as possible with the local residents and provide them with plenty of notice and

ARKING – obstructing private driveways, or parking on grass verges is not permitted –please think before you park.


LEAN UP – clean up after yourself, and leave no litter on site, or in car parks.


OILETS – only use provided toilets or agreed welfare facilities – using neighbours’ trees, fences or hedges is not acceptable.

information on the works. Network Rail’s reputation has certainly been enhanced in line with our Putting Passengers First vision.”

Be sure the required plans and permits are in place, before you start a job



RAIL LIVES Stuart Barge’s career with a variety of contractors has included engineering projects at paper mills. Now, as a construction manager, he ensures rail sites are following safety documentation


IN ALMOST 30 years in the construction industry Stuart Barge has seen it all – from best practice to the sort of risktaking that can put people in danger. Stuart’s current role as construction manager sees him act as eyes and ears for Network Rail’s on key construction sites, working with contractors to ensure projects are running to plan and with the correct safety procedures. His experience gives him a keen eye for the type of behaviour that puts safety in jeopardy. “You usually get a good feel for the approach to safety on site from the way it looks – general tidiness and the neatness of walkways for example,” he says. “I have a bugbear about first aid kits not being properly stocked. That kind of thing tells me I need to ask more questions. If needs be, I can do a planned general inspection (PGI) which goes through all the paperwork and flags things that need addressing.” ON THE TOOLS Health and safety was at the heart of Stuart’s very first rail construction job. Working for his father’s engineering firm, he was part of the team making improvements at King’s Cross Underground station following the devastating fire in 1987. “I left school at 16 and trained as a bricklayer with housebuilder Wimpey,” he says. “But when my father’s company was short of people, he asked if I wanted to give him a hand – I ended up staying for 12 years.” His career since then has taken him across the UK and Europe, working ‘on the tools’ – often working on machinery at huge paper mills. An unusual claim to fame is that he installed a machine that adds balm to paper tissues – the first of its kind at the time. He also worked on the Crossrail project before joining Network Rail in 2015. RISK FACTOR Stuart has seen firsthand that decisions made by individuals are often the biggest risk factor on site. He recalls: “Years ago, I was on a job where we

used a four-seater rail vehicle known as a ‘track rat’ to reach the site. It’s meant to have a trained operator but one day four guys decided they couldn’t wait for an operator, so they took it themselves. They ended up approaching the site too fast and hit a pile of sand. One guy flew off, did a summersault and landed on his feet but two others ended up in hospital and the other had cuts and bruises.” Another example was on Crossrail, when a remote camera had become stuck during a drain inspection. “We had the correct confined space tickets and gear, so we made the necessary calls for someone to go down and retrieve it,” Stuart recalls.“When the guy was lowered down, he couldn’t reach, so he said he would unhook himself and traverse (climb through) the tunnel. I immediately stopped him. He knew he shouldn’t do it but was about to risk it anyway.” FEEL SAFE TO ASK While safety rules, procedures and equipment have changed beyond recognition since he started his career, Stuart says he still comes across people who put themselves and others at risk, sometimes without realising it. “I’ve seen teams given a task briefing but then find a more effective way of working. But if they don’t document the change on the task briefing so that everyone knows about it, that’s when accidents happen. “It’s part of my job to check people’s work and they don’t always like it, but it helps that I’ve been in their position. You have to be approachable, too. It’s important that people feel safe to ask and are comfortable calling out anything that’s not right. I always say if a job can’t be done safely, it’s better to stop.”

“It’s important that people feel safe to ask and are comfortable calling out anything that’s not right” to be in the paper? 020 7749 0173 or text 07783 467892 What Want do you think? Get inCalltouch – shield@networkrail.co.uk

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The Shield December 2020  

The Shield December 2020