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Track safety chiefs under pressure to pass standard

RAILTRACK SAFETY heads are this week analysing a revised standard aimed at improving track worker safety.

Railtrack standard RTDP050 aims to reduce the instances of staff working on live tracks with trains running. But two versions have already been rejected by its safety executive SAFEX, because of fears that the changes would affect performance.

However pressure is mounting for action as fatality rates climb.

HSE officials are becoming frustrated by the delay and will take enforcement action if progress is not made by the end of the month.

Railtrack Assurance and Safety department representatives last week met with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to explain the delay and said that a revised version of the standard had been drafted.

This version is now awaiting approval by SAFEX, which comprises largely zone managers.

But track representatives are worried that the standard will be diluted again by the time it is passed.

Six track workers have been killed in the past 15 months.

Phil Dee, health and safety officer for the RMT union, this week urged the HSE to take action against Railtrack at the highest level to try to improve the situation.

He believes that had the standard been introduced in the format he saw six months ago, the latest death of a worker at Hitchin just before Christmas, would not have happened.

Railtrack said this week that the meeting with the HSE was 'amicable and productive'.

'We are working together to get the standard introduced.'

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