Our ref: HSR/2/6
Head Office Circular: NP/8/23
13th January 2023
To: The Secretary
NETWORK RAIL – MODERNISING MAINTENANCE – SAFETY CONSULTATION
The company has embarked on consultation over its Modernising Maintenance project. Following concerns raised by the Union to the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the following response was received:
I asked Network Rail to tell me how they planned to meet their legal obligation to consult safety representatives/employees on the risk assessments arising from the proposed Modernising Maintenance changes and MST reductions. They have told me that there are plans to consult nationally on the significant risks identified, with the intention of hearing any health and safety concerns. These plans include several meetings with safety representatives. I have also been told that there will be further consultation on identified risks at local level which will take account of the results of local resource sizing and any MST reductions, if proposed.
At its meeting on 12th January, your National Executive Committee noted and adopted the following report from its Health and Safety Sub-committee:
We note the company’s Modernising Maintenance Health & Safety Consultation document dated 6th December 2022 and the correspondence on file from the ORR. We further note that the company has been undertaking work on Safety Validation since early 2022.
The General Secretary is instructed to write to the company expressing our disappointment at not being consulted on the risks associated with working practices.
We do not believe that national consultation has taken place effectively before the company seeks to go to local consultation. The National Safety Council must first conclude in order to identify key risks. National consultation has not concluded so there should be no local consultation until it has.
We need to view the independent assessment in order to understand its role and the list of measures that require approval.
National validation must have appropriate consideration by our national reps, otherwise it is not a consultation. We also need to understand who the project leads are.
The response from the ORR is inadequate. The minutes of the last meeting are also inadequate.
We require a response as to why processes have not been trialled to demonstrate safety, and how the company measures success or failure- at what level of risk is the company proposing to move to implementation?
We are not satisfied by the company’s response to our request to have our Lead Rep from High Output in attendance at future meetings.
The General Secretary is further instructed to request that our National Safety Council Reps investigate and then report back to the Lead Officer any risks they deem appropriate that are not included in the Hazard Record eight key Risks.
Finally, the General Secretary is instructed to write to Network Rail on the basis that it has started to implement Modernising Maintenance in areas before completing the required H&S requirements and that it has therefore not followed the legislation.
Relevant branched and Regional Councils to be notified.
Additionally, I have been instructed to write to the ORR requesting direct involvement and attendance at national consultation.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.