Information published on 1 March 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 487.

Successful UIC/EFRTC Workshop on “Safety Protection on Track during Work” held from 18 – 19 February 2016 at UIC Headquarters in Paris

  • Safety

The International Union of Railways (UIC) and the European Federation of Railways Trackworks Contractors (EFRTC) jointly organised a workshop on 18 and 19 February on the upcoming CEN standard EN 16704 “Railway applications – Track – Safety protection on the track during work”.

The purpose of CEN standard EN 16704 is to define a common approach to railway safety in relation to track work. National safety rules (for example national standards or company rules) should gradually be harmonised in line with or be replaced by rules contained in this standard. It will soon be introduced in all standards bodies and published later this year.

The workshop provided unique and key information on this new CEN standard and gave the opportunity to discuss best practices, innovative solutions and to exchange views on this topic at an international level.

Mr Jo Urlings, Honorary EFRTC President and Chairman of EFRTC’s Safety and Security Committee who opened the Workshop said “It is important to have this EN 16704 standard. It will help us to make the workplaces safer for our workers. More harmonised rules are needed in our day-to-day railway business, especially when our teams are working across borders”.

Marc Antoni, UIC Rail System Department, explained the differences between International Railway Standards (IRS) and Industrial Railway Standards such as ISO, CEN and others and how they fit in the overall picture with Directives and TSIs.
In the standardisation process, there is the need to distinguish between two aspects: products represented by industrial standards and railway services, and UIC professional standards that are operator driven.

He underlined that all standardisation organisations have to work in conjunction with one another, in complementarity and with respect to each other’s role and mission to avoid overlaps and gaps, for the benefit of the railway sector.

Mr Jeroen Van Tweel (ProRail), former convener of CEN WG 39 that developed the standard during the last years, explained part 1 entitled “Railway risks and common principles for protection of fixed and mobile work sites”. He gave an overview of the different risks for workers and how the hierarchy of safety measures of EU Directive 89/391 is implemented.

Mr Mark Prescott (Network Rail) presented the technical part 2.1. of the standard entitled “Common solutions and technology – requirements for Track Warning”. He explained the differences between LOWS (Lookout Operated Warning System), ATWS (Automatic Track Warning System) and SCWS (Signal Controlled Warning System).
His advice when developing a new TWS is always to engage the workforce, trade unions, as trust and confidence in the equipment are critical to a sustainable deployment and maximum safety benefit.

Mr Stefan Reith (DB Netz) gave a presentation on the technical requirements for barriers, part 2.2 of Standard EN 16074. The purpose of this part is to define and harmonise requirements for barriers to separate the working zone and danger zone and to prevent workers from entering the danger zone unintentionally. In practice the requirements can be combined with TWS to create the safest workplace for workers on track.

The presentation of Mr Heinz Pfarrer was about competences part 3 of the standard that defines the activities related to work on or near the railway track and the associated competence profiles of persons who carry out these activities. In the standard you can find a matrix with an overview of all activities: medical, psychological, communications requirements and professional skills. An individual track safety card will be stipulated in future.

Four manufacturers, members of WG 39, presented their view of systems in the future.
Mr Gerhard Belina (SCHWEIZER Electronic) showed his strong belief in SCWS with a warning only when needed. For Mr Christophe Carsac (ACTIA Telecom) TWS in future will also get information from signalling, so also SCWS. Individual or collective warnings will be given without cables at SIL 4 safety level. For Ms Britta Lissina (ZÖLLNER Signal) SCWS is permanently available and will bring cost reduction and higher productivity. Mr Lex Van Der Poel (DUAL Inventive), showed us our rapidly changing world. His belief is to use the most advanced techniques, 5G, wireless, robust, fast and focused. Their TWS will tap into all the available data to get the necessary information when needed with a strong belief in individual warnings.

In the closing Round Table “More Safety in practice, Marc Antoni, Director UIC Rail System Department, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, President of EFRTC and Colin Clifton of Southeastern and Chairman of the UIC Safety Platform, gave their point of view on what to do to implement the upcoming standard as quickly as possible.

Mr Marc Antoni said, ‘this is a huge step ahead for safety for track workers’ and proposes that IRS are used as a guideline to facilitate the implementation. He gave his vision on Signal Controlled Track Warning Systems in combination with ERTMS and what the industry has to do to let the systems work sooner and/or simpler.

Mr Jean-Pierre Bertrand worked in the oil and gas construction sector before he joined the railway business. He considers this new standard as a great help to make the business safer and pointed out that the railway business still can learn from the behaviour of workers in other businesses, like Oil & Gas, where a higher safety culture is more common.

Mr Colin Clifton gave some excellent advice on how to introduce new improvements in track worker safety. From his view as a Train Operating Company, he wants to discuss with all parties everything that will improve safety for workers on track because it will have a direct impact on the availability of trains for passengers.

In the closing and summary of the workshop Mr Jo Urlings thanked all members of CEN WG 39 for their excellent work during the last ten years. With this upcoming new standard the safety for all workers on or near the track will get a boost.

For further information please contact Marc Antoni, Director of the UIC Rail System Department: antoni@uic.org

Or Peter Gerhardt, Manager of the UIC Safety Unit: gerhardt@uic.org