Lookout Operated Warning Systems (LOWS) - Update

Our ref: HSR/2/6
17th March 2022
To: All RMT Network Rail members

By email only

Dear Brother/Sister


Further to my letter of 9th March, which noted that RMT raised this issue at the National Health Safety and Welfare Council om 8th March, I am pleased to report that Network Rail has confirmed the following:

The company is committed to the structured removal for all LOWS activity. Following a few technical matters that RMT is aware of via the Safety Task Force Programme Board, the company now has a strong plan to install 150 Semi-Automatic Train Warning Systems (SATWS) which will support the removal of LOWS from the Network.

The action that was discussed is as follows:

All LOWS usage is planned to be removed from East Midlands Route by 19th May 2022, which is when the company will have all the SATWAS sites installed on East Midlands

The Level 1 investigation is underway, and a Level 2 investigation will also be undertaken. The company will action any recommendations from the investigations

Bedford DU have reviewed the work due to be undertaken with LOWS and all work that can be removed from using this form of system has been undertaken. The company does not use LOWS at all on Derby or Lincoln areas

The only work that remains using LOWS is for planned inspection work.

In the meantime, I reiterate that should any member have any concern about your health and safety at work whilst LOWS is still operational, you should stop work immediately, remove yourself to a place of safety, invoke the company’s Work Safe Procedure and contact one of your RMT Lead Union Health and Safety Representatives.

With kind regards.

Yours sincerely


Michael Lynch
General Secretary