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Ear defenders. May save your hearing but not your life?

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Ear defenders. May save your hearing but not your life?

Old 5th Jul 2019, 17:04
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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I expect the defenders were a few pounds and the most economical protection available. However in this day and age when counting the cost of actually doing the work you'd think they had upgraded to something a little more sophisticated.

Noise cancelling headphones connected to a radio network so the guys could communicate with throat mikes?

Son #1 has just gone from military to civil helicopters. Had to upgrade his helmet headphones due to incompatibility. Many hundreds of dollars, I was shocked at the amount as he wanted really good ones.

"Yes, but it's just a day's work." Got to put it in perspective.
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Old 5th Jul 2019, 17:26
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Quite a lot of work on the railway network is safely performed on lines open to traffic with no speed restrictions imposed.
The system failed. It will be interesting to see which bits went wrong when the reportis published.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 09:09
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by davews View Post
I think it is unwise to speculate what happened. But in this day and age when I can sit in my house and see what trains are on that line at any time (to the nearest track circuit) I fail to see why the track workers cannot do similar and know there is a train on its way. It was a scheduled train running on time, they should have been expecting it, and the banksman if he had just a mobile phone could have double checked and reminded the men. Ear protectors are irrelevant.

A tragic loss and we all must just wait until the RAIB report comes out.
Rule one of working on a live track. Never, ever rely on the timetable - it doesn't allow for additional trains/light engines.
The Banksman is actually a look-out man.
Mobile 'phones cannot be relied upon. It's a given that when one is required to be used the signal will be lost.
RedhillPhil.
British Rail/Eurostar 1969-2012.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 10:39
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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If you go to the RSSB website, the duties of the Lookout are detailed in Handbook 3.
If the work group were doing packing with a kango , then the operator and lookout would be wearing ear defenders. The lookout would either be looking at the distant lookout (if provided due to sighting restrictions), or for oncoming trains themselves.
For a short duration job, the erection of reduced speed boards is impractical, besides how do you protect the staff putting out the boards.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 11:09
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by tdracer;10510074...hearing protection can actually make it [i
easier [/i]to pick up a 'new' loud noise - such as an approaching train.
Based on my own experience, Iíd say no, it doesnít. Apart from anything else, the approaching train often isnít making a loud noise.

I once had to isolate the whistle on a loco we were trialling after a rebuild. The iso cock was right next to the whistle, which was blowing continuously, so I was wearing ear defenders. After Iíd isolated the thing I was walking back to the cab in the six-foot, still wearing the hearing protection, when one of our XPT passenger trains passed me on the other road at a good 120 kmh. It was on a rising grade and motoring, yet I didnít hear it at all. The first I knew about it was when it passed me in a cloud of dust and diesel fumes.

There was another time when I got out of the loco to check for a hotbox and almost got cleaned up by the following train. Again, it was doing track speed, but I didnít hear it until it was on top of me. I was close enough to it that I had a smudge of brake dust on the end of my nose where I made contact with the cab handrails as it went past. Thatís as close as I ever want to get to a moving train.

So in my opinion you never rely on just hearing the train to stay alive
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 11:52
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Blues&twos View Post
Charliegolf - detonators are strapped to the railhead and explode with a very loud bang when a train goes over them. This is to alert the driver to stop, not to warn the trackworkers. These clearly can't be used on a track still fully open to traffic, except in an emergency.

There are a number of modern electronic/radio systems which can be used now to alert trackworkers, but I assume there are criteria for using each type. Sadly, even on quiet, relatively low speed branch lines being hit by a train means time off at the undertaker.
Itís interesting to see our how our railwayís procedures differ. We still use detonators when the road is open in conjunction with either a Track Occupancy Authority or a Track Work Authority. And just last month I had a long walk in the dark and the pouring rain to put some down to protect my train after an incident...

Weíre also rolling out the use of wireless automatic track warning systems - the Protection Officers Iíve spoken to are very keen on these.
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Old 7th Jul 2019, 17:54
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Crownstay01
We still use dets (or more correctly, railway fog signals) for protecting a total possession of the line, three dets and a PLB at the protecting signal.
Where I am, it’s all track circuit block, the the driver puts down three dets 300 metres from the train in the direction the assisting train is coming from.
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Old 8th Jul 2019, 10:35
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
Is this the first case of PPE equipment contributing to a death at work?
No it isn't, and it won't be the last.

The trouble with hearing protection is that if you use stuff that's too good it can be detrimental. Hearing protection is classed by the number of decibels it deadens, so 25dB ear defenders will reduce the noise level your ears are exposed to by 25 dB. Trouble is, with background noise around 35 dB if you take 25 dB off you are down to 10 dB which is heading into sensory depravation area. Too little noise actually makes you lose track of your environment.

We had a case where there was machinery that would start automatically if there was a fire, but when the machines were not running it was normal background noise. The scenario was that, because the machinery didn't give you notice when it was starting, you would be exposed to a lot of noise when the machines started. Common sense said that if the machines started you would get out of the room (also as the machines started there was probably a fire somewhere!}, but someone was adamant that personnel should wear hearing protection in the room all the time regardless of whether the machine was running.

There was a long discussion around wearing hearing protection with the machines off, at one point the purist who insisted personnel wear hearing protection all the time was invited to demonstrate whilst moving around the room. After the third accidental collision with equipment they conceded that it may not be the best solution.
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 18:31
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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There was "no safe system in place" when 2 rail workers were hit and killed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-49892460
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Old 8th Oct 2019, 21:44
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Sad, but one might have thought that "Railway Workers" would have been aware that trains might pass, or is it a case of "Familiarity Breed Contempt " ?
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 05:41
  #51 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by YorkshireTyke View Post
Sad, but one might have thought that "Railway Workers" would have been aware that trains might pass, or is it a case of "Familiarity Breed Contempt " ?
Bit, well to be frank, very harsh that.......putting " " around railway workers because that is actually what the poor souls were.

As for "familiarity breeds contempt " you can level the same inference at experienced pilots who commit CFIT or press on with deteriorating wx or who get airborne after being aware of the forecast for deteriorating wx.

The end result is only too evident, it's the factors than induce these decisions that become far more pertinent to the subsequent investigation. On the surface, both the look out and the COSS are to blame, but, are they ? they may, in fact, be the final hole in the proverbial cheese.

The last two paragraphs of the BBC report are telling really.......

"Investigators are continuing to gather evidence about the several factors of the report, including the appointment of key roles, the separation of groups, why the team undertook work on the crossing bolts and the intuitiveness in the use of the train warning horn in an emergency.

The interim report, which has not been finalised, added a series of investigated events over recent years had been identified, with some common circumstances to the key facts found at Margam East Junction
" .

These suggests there may well be deeper issues across the rail maintenance sector which, not for the first time in any context and certainly in aviation, it's taken a tragedy to highlight and subsequently address.

Last edited by Krystal n chips; 9th Oct 2019 at 06:06.
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Old 9th Oct 2019, 18:18
  #52 (permalink)  
 
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Anyone who regularly reads reports published by the RAIB will be aware that in pretty much all incidents/accidents of this type involving track workers, the same risk assessment/ work system/safety management failings have occurred.
Unclear instructions, vague briefings, lack of clarity concerning individuals' roles and "local" or unofficial methods of work. Sometimes unwillingness to challenge the COSS or person in charge.
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Old 10th Oct 2019, 05:23
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ATNotts View Post
Is this the first case of PPE equipment contributing to a death at work?
No it's happened before, whether it be gloves caught in moving machinery or hard hat straps being snagged and choking the wearer.

We had a case where there was a shed which contained the fire water pumps. The pumps would only come on if they were being tested or if one of the hydrants is opened (which a contractor did to wash his hands and we wasted twenty thousands litres of water}.

Anyway, there was no real reason to go into the fire pump shed unless you were servicing the pumps. We had put signs on the door saying that the pumps started automatically and that with the pumps running hearing protection was required. Our customer wanted up to put up mandatory hearing protection signs, I refused. They said "but what if the pumps go off" and I pointed out that if the pumps went off intentionally you would have hearing protection, and if they went off because of a fire they would be leaving the buildng anyway....

They insisted again I refused again. Without the pumps running the background noise level was about 36 db, with 25 dB hearing protection that took you down to the level that you lost spacial awareness because it was so quiet. I pointed this out, they insisted a third time.

Eventually they won because they insisted it was "reasonably practicable" for us to put the signs up as they insisted....
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Old 11th Oct 2019, 10:19
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by WingNut60 View Post
Having spent a lot of time in both underground and open cast (open cut) mines, I am, more than ever, confused about what the draughters of mining regs think is going to fall on your head in an open-cut mine.
I am the last person to support stupid health and safety rules, but surely, even in an open cast mine, a stone could dislodge from a wall and be thrown out by collision on its way down and thus approach your head from above - with no warning? Ditto a trapped stone being thrown up from the tyre of a dumper truck?

Highly unlikely of course, but not impossible. There could also be cranes and large digging machines possibly?

Even if no hazards exist, it is also probably an insurance thing. How much you could be sued for if you failed to provide and insist on PPE and somebody was badly hurt.
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Old 11th Oct 2019, 10:53
  #55 (permalink)  
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Just saw (on different forum) video of two men digging a hole in the road. No hard hats though there was potential for something to drop in their heads. Then they were out of the hole, no potential but wearing hard hats.
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Old 11th Oct 2019, 16:05
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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In most work places where an obvious "stuff falling on you" hazard doesn't exist or is negligible, the hard hats are to reduce the risk of injury if YOU bang your head on a solid object (walls, tools, posts, pipes etc).
Given that the brain is a relatively important part of the body, you'd think people would happily protect it.
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Old 11th Oct 2019, 18:19
  #57 (permalink)  
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I found a soft padded hat worked as well. A hard hat is bulkier, I found I would not things that i would otherwise miss. I guess you might get used to the extra size. Remember jarring my neck when wearing a hard hat. Also it didn't damage what you might hit.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 04:35
  #58 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
I found a soft padded hat worked as well. A hard hat is bulkier, I found I would not things that i would otherwise miss. I guess you might get used to the extra size. Remember jarring my neck when wearing a hard hat. Also it didn't damage what you might hit.
I'm sure the HSE will be delighted to learn of this alternative. As will the various manufacturers of hard hats, which may be called hard for a very simple reason.

A bump hat would have been your better option, but, as for banging into solid objects, the term " spatial and situational awareness " springs to mind . And if you hadn't been wearing a hard hat, then you may have incurred an injury, so the hat worked as intended.

There again, wearing hard hats can be amusing, or bemusing, to witness. As I've said before, watching 5Sqn tow their shiny new toy one afternoon to 51Sqn, apart from the excessive numbers involved, we noted they were all wearing shiny blue hard hats !......quite what the risk was, or what may have fallen out of the sky in this perilous transit along the taxiway at Waddington remains unclear to this day...............

Last edited by Krystal n chips; 12th Oct 2019 at 05:26.
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