The client is a leading international provider of construction-related services represented in all the world‘s major markets. Services provided by the client range through development to construction and operations, covering the entire life cycle of infrastructure projects, real estate and facilities.
Statius was approached to supply ongoing support services to ensure that the company’s health and safety, and environmental policies, procedures and practices were sufficiently robust for what was one of the most prestigious construction projects in Europe.
Unfortunately, during this project, the company experienced a “near miss” incident with, potentially, very serious consequences. Following this incident, Statius was requested to conduct an independent investigation.
A Network Rail supervisor noticed that operatives were erecting temporary edge protection to a bridge over live rails; work that required T3 possession and additional control measures to ensure that hazards and associated risks were eliminated or reduced to the lowest possible level. The operatives were immediately asked to stop work and move back from the edge of the bridge and the incident was reported to Network Rail. An immediate Serious Near Miss was reported.
Statius then conducted a detailed investigation to identify the facts regarding the incident and the events leading up to it in order to ensure that all root and underlying causes were highlighted so that corrective and preventative measures could be agreed and implemented.
Summary of Facts
The responsible site managers and supervisors were all trained, competent and aware of their responsibilities and the requirements to establish and agree safe working zones. They were aware that the area where the works were being conducted were part of the safe zone boundary and verbally communicated this to the work party involved via formal tool box talks. However, due to the previous installation of the concrete omnias and the failure to establish physical and/or visual barriers to identify the safe zone boundary, the associated work group continued to install the edge protection past the point where an exclusion zone should have been established.
The initial drafting and the review of the Safe System of Work for these works were inadequate as they failed to clearly identify effective control measures to ensure that the risks associated whilst working within three metres of live rails or Overhead Line Electrification (OLE) were managed effectively, or to ensure that the associated risks were reduced as far as reasonably practicable.
In association with Statius, the company completed a full review of its Safe Systems of Work which resulted in:
• Much clearer identification of CRITICAL control measures
• An enhanced review and approval process
• Significantly improved communication processes
• Additional training for those with responsibility for planning, approving, implementing and communicating requirements
By conducting a complete and independent investigation, several areas for improvement within the company’s health and safety management systems were identified and addressed in order to minimize the risk of future incidents.