Safe working arrangements for working on Pantograph Equipment

Our Ref: HSR/4/5
Head Office Circular: NP/132/17
16th August 2017

The Secretary

Dear Colleague

Safe working arrangements for working on Pantograph Equipment

RMT have concerns over the current instructions issued to staff employed by Network Rail who are instructed to work on top of trains to release pantograph equipment that has become entangled in the OLE. These concerns were raised with the company and agreement was reached that the company would review the document and should it be found that if it refers to going on top of the train then it would be withdrawn. Further the company agreed that as described by our representatives then it was a breach of the lifesaving rules and that the practice must not be continued.  

Despite these assurances the company have merely reviewed the document and not withdrawn it.

You are advised that RMT believe these working practices may be unsafe and mat place staff at risk of serious or imminent danger.

 Advice for Members

If individual workers believe their working conditions place them at risk of serious or imminent danger they are protected under the law from discrimination by refusing to carry out any such work. In such a situation you may remove yourself to a place of safety. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Reg 8 state that all employers must have procedures in place to cover this eventuality; such procedures are commonly called “work-safe procedures”. A short guide to the law in this regard is available on the RMT website at:

 Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary