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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)  
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 416
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)  
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: South Oxfordshire
Posts: 595
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.
Blues&twos is online now  
Old 6th Jul 2019, 09:09
  #43 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southwater
Age: 69
Posts: 509
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.
British Rail/Eurostar 1969-2012.
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Old 6th Jul 2019, 10:39
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Peterborough
Age: 65
Posts: 211
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.
uffington sb is offline  
Old 7th Jul 2019, 11:09
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Waterfall
Posts: 2
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)  
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Waterfall
Posts: 2
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)  
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Peterborough
Age: 65
Posts: 211
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.
uffington sb is offline  
Old 8th Jul 2019, 10:35
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: The Fletcher Memorial Home
Age: 54
Posts: 302
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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