Our Ref: HSR/4/2
Head Office Circular: NP/140/21
4th May 2021
To: The Secretary
NETWORK RAIL - ISOLATION ASSISTANTS
I write further to Head Office Circular NP/81/21.
Your RMT National Executive (NEC) met on 29th April 2021 when it noted and adopted the report as below from its Health and Safety Sub-committee, who had met to consider the issue of Isolation Assistants being deployed on the Railway Infrastructure and the impact this has on our members when there are not fully trained, certificated, competent teams implementing isolations.
That we note the recent letter from Network Rail setting out their responses on Isolation Assistants being deployed on the Infrastructure.
Noting the views of our representatives and the continued lack of a solution to this matter the General Secretary is instructed to write to the company as follows:
· That the continued use of non-qualified and non-competent Isolation Assistants imports danger on to the railway and is entirely unacceptable to this union.
· That we reject Network Rail’s statement that Isolation Assistants are not involved the isolation processes on the infrastructure when we have reports that they are constantly and actively involved in the process when deployed. This undermines the safety regimes and rules in place and contradicts the company’s statements.
· This degradation of the safe methods of work and agreements by these contracting suppliers which seem especially common in Work Delivery is entirely unacceptable to this union as is the company’s tacit acceptance and encouragement of these practices by continuing to do nothing to prevent them.
· That we demand of Network Rail that they take immediate steps to specify to all supply chain companies and sub-contractors that all personnel that they supply to Network Rail to work on or support electrical isolations are qualified and deployed on the infrastructure in the same manner as Network Rail staff with minimum qualifications and competency at Nominated Person and Authorised Person level.
· To seek a specific written assurance from Network Rail on this matter.
Further, the General Secretary is to write to the ORR outlining our concerns and requesting that they take steps to ensure that only appropriately qualified and competent Nominated Persons and Authorised Person are allowed to be used for isolation work by Network Rail and their suppliers.
Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions and will keep members advised of any developments.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.