Wednesday 16 February 2022

Save the date: webinar on “Safety at work: protecting rail workers from trains” to be held online on 28 February 2022 from 1pm to 4pm CET

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UIC is pleased to invite you to a webinar dedicated to “Safety at work: protecting rail workers from trains” to be held online on 28 February 2022 from 1pm to 4pm CET.

The health and safety of the workforce, including subcontractors, must be placed at a high level of safety in the railways.

This webinar focuses on three significant aspects of workforce safety:

  • Safer railway maintenance,
  • Safe recovery and return to service after an accident,
  • Contractor safety: client and contractor perspectives.

The aim of this webinar is to showcase UIC members’ work to ensure continuous improvement in managing the health and safety of all rail industry employees, in particular infrastructure workers, whether they are employees or contractors, as well as those responsible for accident response and recovery.

Workforce safety is a broad term and many aspects of it are covered by duty holders’ safety management systems.

There is a strong focus across the UIC Safety Platform on improving infrastructure workforce safety. This calls for collaboration to bring about lasting change.

From the perspective of UIC members, the key health and safety challenges facing the industry can be summarised as follows:

  • A lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities, developing and maintaining competence, and safety culture among trackside workers and managers,
  • Inconsistency around planning and implementing safe systems of work that give a high level of protection,
  • Insufficient use of technology to reduce the risk to those working on or around the track,
  • Limited visibility on the part of management of the risk to infrastructure workers because of deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and assurance,
  • Collaboration in this sector has often been found to be wanting.

Although there have been improvements in how occupational health and safety risks are managed, many tasks remain intrinsically hazardous. Significant benefits could be obtained if these tasks were performed automatically, remotely or during daylight hours without compromising safety.

Where it is necessary for staff to go trackside, it is important that they minimise the time spent on the operational railway and, in particular, within the kinematic envelope of trains. Examples include:

  • maintenance activities often performed at night and involving the use of heavy and cumbersome equipment,
  • poor trackside access with badly lit and inadequate safe walking routes,
  • unassisted lookout working, possession limit boards and earthing straps, often in the dark, to protect work sites,
  • depot workers exposed to risks from traction power (diesel fumes and electrocution) and train movements.

Moreover, improving physical and mental health, regardless of whether it is work- or lifestyle- related, will help the rail industry to attract and retain high-calibre staff and minimise disruption from managing the effects of ill-health. It makes good business sense.

For this reason, initiatives to promote better health will be self-funding and should, over time, help reduce the industry’s costs as illustrated in the UIC report “Guidelines: improving health and safety when working with contractors on the railway”.

This webinar will present the key developments being led by UIC member organisations to address the above issues and will describe the important work being done to make working on the railway healthier and safer. The presenters are highly respected leaders in their respective fields, representing UIC member organisations from the UK, Sweden and the Russian Federation.

View the full programme and register at:

Registration will close on 25 February.

For further information, please contact Virginie Papillault, Human & Organisational Factors and Safety Culture Manager at UIC:

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