Health and safety laws are vital for keeping people safe in the workplace. This is no different for trackside, railway construction or engineering works. As laid out in the Health and Safety and Work etc. Act 1974, Section 2(2) part ‘e’, it is an employer’s duty to provide:
‘the provision and maintenance of a working environment for his employees that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health, and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’
Compliance with the law in order to safeguard the lives of workers is clearly the top priority, so what are some of the common rail construction and engineering projects that would be likely to need rail safety barriers and site lighting to meet this obligation? This month, at Triptex, we’ll look at some of these works and why they require barriers to be in place.
Bridges & Tunnels
The railway network in this country contains roughly 40,000 tunnels and bridges across various routes. Some of these are relatively new, while some date back to the 1800s. This means that regular inspections have to be carried out to check their integrity and ensure it’s safe for trains to pass through, as well as making sure they can hold weight if they’re used as a path over the railway by roads.
Where level crossings are involved, there is the added risk of road traffic or pedestrians, so safety is something that should be on everyone’s mind. These areas are required for safe passage over the lines, as well as ensuring essential components such as barriers and lights are working where they’re required.
Track Maintenance & Replacement
The tracks themselves are much like roads in that they will need to be serviced and replaced every so often as the materials become worn from constant use. This is maintenance and renewal is vital for railways to meet the strict safety standards and could involve working on tracks alongside lines that are still operational if there is more than one set. Tens of thousands of tracks line the country, so as you can imagine, this work is constantly underway somewhere.
As well as the tracks themselves, there is the need for constant trackside maintenance. This is to ensure that the lines themselves stay level as over time, and with constant use, the ballast and ground beneath tracks could shift, making the tracks uneven. On top of this, trees, plants and other vegetation have to be kept in check to avoid encroachment on the lines. This work might usually be carried out while a line is still running with trains, so safety barriers are key to prevent workers from straying too close to dangerous areas.
Overhead Cable Work
Whether it’s installing new power cabling for electric trains or maintaining the existing lines, this is integral to many trains on our networks these days. Of course, where such high voltages are in play, safety has to be paramount as there is not only a danger of oncoming trains but also the risk of electrocution if procedures aren’t in place and followed properly.
Signalling Maintenance & Replacement
Key to train drivers knowing when it’s safe to go and when to sit tight, signalling is crucial. This equipment, like any other electrical equipment, is always going to need regular inspections and sometimes replacement if it has become unreliable. This work allows the network to run as smoothly as possible, but also means there’s constant work alongside the tracks to carry out any necessary repairs and servicing to prevent faults.
The track location, the usage levels of the route and the time at which work has been scheduled, will all play into any safety arrangements for the above types of work. But when it comes to your site, safety is key and that’s why we provide Vortok safety barrier fencing and magnetic safety barrier fencing throughout the UK. Plus, we provide free delivery within 48 hours so you’re never delayed waiting for essential equipment.
Contact us today to place your order on railway construction barriers or lighting and we’ll be happy to assist you.