Managing the Risk of Runaways

The rail industry in the UK has experienced a number of runaway events over the last fifteen years where unexpected and uncontrolled movements of rail vehicles, plant or machines have approached workers while on track. The impact of these events has resulted in near misses ranging from the recent runaway Iron Men at Pantyffynnon Junction and Gwaun-cae-Gurwen to the runaway RRV trailer at Tebay in 2004 which resulted in the loss of four colleagues.

Significant work has been undertaken to reduce the risk of runaways taking place; the direct wheel braking that has been fitted to high ride RRV’s being one specific example. However, given that these events continue to occur indicates that our controls need continued focus and improvements.

When issued the new 019 will contain an explicit requirement for anyone working on the Infrastructure to “Manage the Risk from Runaways.”

A risk based approach needs to be considered as part of every work planning activity. Where it cannot be demonstrated that current controls reduce the risk of a runaway approaching a site of work to a level that is as low as is reasonably practicable (ALARP), consideration should be given to deploying a secondary warning system.

The Toolkit has been developed with Carlisle Delivery Unit and provides some useful documents for raising the awareness of this issue and managing the risk.

Ironmen Learning Event

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