Full application of safe systems of work for people working on or about the line

Our Ref: HSR/4/2

Head Office Circular: Np/145/19

19th August 2019





Dear Colleague


Full application of safe systems of work for people working on or about the line

In recent weeks there have been a series of very serious near-misses that have taken place during track work activities.  This series of near-misses, coupled with the tragic fatalities at Port Talbot in July 2019 and Stoat’s Nest in November 2018, is alarming for everyone in the sector.

Your Union’s top priority is the health and safety of our members and, given the escalating numbers of incidents, the RMT is now issuing advice to all members working in track maintenance and on the national railway infrastructure as follows:


“All members working on or near the line on Network Rail Infrastructure governed by the 019 Standard (NR/L2/OHS/019 – Safety of people at work on or near the line), should ensure that they are in full compliance with, and are fully applying the safe systems of work and protection methods given to them in the Safe Work Packs (SWP) planned for the task in which they are engaged.

Where members cannot comply fully and apply the methods set out in the Safe Work Pack, they should not implement any other systems or ad-hoc arrangements, and should request that a revised Safe Work Pack is issued.

Any members that feel that they do not have a safe system of work or one that cannot be properly applied and are pressured in to working unsafely should invoke the Work Safe Procedure (NR/L2/OHS/00112 – Work safe Procedure).”


Members are advised that RMT have previously reached agreement with the company that any member of staff invoking the Work Safe Procedure will not be subject to the company’s disciplinary procedure, this agreement remains in place.

RMT will continue to engage with Network Rail as a matter of priority on all aspects of track worker safety with the intention of eliminating fatalities and serious injuries.  That may mean a change in the culture and practices of track working with an emphasis on the safest systems being designed and fully implemented.

I will keep members fully informed of all developments but in the meantime I would urge all members to fully apply and implement and apply the safest systems of work and make the their own safety and the safety of their work colleagues their highest priority.

Yours sincerely


Mick Cash

General Secretary