Hazard Rail transport incidents
Knowledge and understanding
|Rail transport incidents||
Understand all associated hazard knowledge
The control measures for this hazard should be applied when working on or near railways, whatever the size or complexity of the incident.
The term ‘railways’ includes:
- Metro or subway systems
- Tram and light railway systems
- Heritage rail networks
- Temporary rail systems
- Industrial site rail systems, such as those found at:
- Power stations
- Nuclear installations
- Quarries or mines
The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) produces many publications that cover working on railways and with rail vehicles. The RSSB Standards catalogue lists these publications; where a particular publication supports a topic in the guidance, a link is provided. Please note that when following a link to a RSSB publication a screen may appear prompting log on; this can be disregarded.
The Network Rail website is another useful source of information, which is also linked to from various topics in the guidance.
Rail incidents that require the attendance of the fire and rescue service can have severe implications for the business continuity of the rail network, leading to long delays for passengers and economic losses for businesses. Careful consideration should be given before requesting power isolation or train stoppages, but may be necessary if there is a threat to life, property or the environment.
There may be circumstances where it is possible to monitor minor incidents from a point of safety and not take action that may have an impact on the free movement of rail. However, if there is a risk to the safety of the public, personnel or infrastructure, which requires power isolation or train stoppages, this action should be initiated as quickly as possible.
It is important for fire and rescue services to understand the hazards that are present within their own, and neighbouring areas. Much of the rail infrastructure, including some major rail stations, is owned or managed by Network Rail. A number of train operating companies (TOCs) and freight operating companies (FOCs) operate under franchise; the TOCs have a variety of rail vehicles and stations in their portfolios and a number of FOCs use the rail network. There are also rail preservation societies that operate sections of track.
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is the independent railway accident investigation organisation in the UK. It investigates railway accidents and incidents on mainline railways, metros, tramways and heritage railways.
Personnel need to understand the possible hazards associated with all operational incidents and general hazards that are associated with rail transport, rail facilities and its infrastructure. Generally, the movement of rail vehicles and the traction current form the greatest hazards within the rail environment.
Fire and rescue service equipment may create further hazards, for example by obstructing the railway; equipment being used near to the track should be kept to a minimum and be removed before any rail vehicle approaches.