Network Rail – Live Line Testers

Our Ref: HSR/2/5
Head Office Circular: NP/139/18
27th July 2018
To: The Secretary

Dear Colleague,

Network Rail – Live Line Testers

RMT have been advised of a situation that could put OLE staff working with electricity in potential breach of the Network Rail Life Saving Rule (LSR) – “test before touch” in that the currently used live line tester does not indicate currents below 9000v. I have raised these matters of concern with the company who on receiving our correspondence cancelled, at short notice, a number of items of planned OLE work while they considered the information given to them by our RMT representatives.

Network Rail have now advised that the 5-stage process adopted by the company will ensure safety of staff working on the OLE:

1. Test before earth – to ensure the equipment is de-energised before applying an earth
2. Apply earths – eliminate the risk of residual voltage
3. Always be sure the required plans and permits are in place, before you start a job or go on or near the line – For 25kV equipment this means ensure that you have a Form C in accordance with NR/L3/ELP/29987 which details the limits of the isolation.
4. Test before approach – a check that you are in the right location as per your Form C isolation limits
5. Retest if you move beyond any inline OLE feature, move to different track or work on a different conductor

While this process will ensure safety the company have agreed to a meeting to discuss further proposals and trials of new equipment that will provide an additional layer of safety. A meeting is scheduled to take place on 7th August and further information will be made available following that meeting. Until then work on OLE, that is compliant with the 5-stage process, should be continued.

Please make the contents of this circular available to all appropriate members.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary