SAFETY ALERT 2021/SA/CRSA00 27/05/2021 2 - Working Safely around OLE in CRSA and Third-Party Isolations

SAFETY ALERT 2021/SA/CRSA00 27/05/2021 2 - Working Safely around OLE in CRSA and Third-Party Isolations

    SAFETY ALERT 2021/SA/CRSA00 27/05/2021 2

    OFFICIAL – Working Safely around OLE in CRSA and Third-Party Isolations


    Please note all third party isolations shall be in accordance with NR/L3/ELP/29987 and for all CRSA isolations ensure that you are familiar with the contents and the additional requirements of the CRSA Overhead Line Isolation Planning Procedure OPS-PR-6204-RAIL.


    On the 14 May 2021 at 00:38, a Linesman working in a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) basket came into contact with live OLE. He suffered serious injuries and remains in hospital.

    The MEWP operator also sustained a minor injury requiring hospital treatment and has since been discharged.

    The team were undertaking routine planned work on overhead line adjustments for the Central Rail System Alliance.

    The investigation has commenced following hand over from British Transport Police to the Office of Rail & Road (ORR).

    A Level 3 investigation is being led by Network Rail and the investigation team has been confirmed. We are co-operating with them along with the ORR.

    The lessons learnt will be established during the investigation and these will be shared in due course.


    Lifesaving Rule for Test before Touch must be witnessed on 25kV and in accordance with the five-step process:

  • 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 a different track or work on a different conductor.

  • Nominated persons must undertake a site walkout before the isolation to confirm safe working limits, identify electrical residual hazards, local features and control measures.
  • Only trained and competent personnel to carry out safety critical tasks and this must be verified by scanning their Sentinel cards.
  • All residual hazards must be identified on the OLE Form C permit including live adjacent equipment, abutting equipment or Live OLE crossing over earthed equipment.
  • Nominated Persons issuing OLE Form C permits must be satisfied that the permit holder demonstrates a full understanding of the safe work limits, work to be undertaken, route of travel and electrical residual hazards stated on the OLE Form C permit by asking open-ended questions.
  • Any Crane/ Machine controller that cannot demonstrate a clear understanding of the Form C briefing will be refused an OLE Form C permit.
  • Where there is planned to be a shift changeover.
    • All Form C permits must be returned to the Nominated Person at the end of each shift with section Part 2 or Part 3 of the Form C completed as instructed.
    • All Form C permits will be briefed and issued to relieving staff at the start of each shift by the Nominated Person.
  • Any alternative arrangements for issuing an OLE Permit/Form C must be planned and approved by the relevant Delivery Unit or designated project engineer.

  • Engage with third party isolation planners to establish what measures will be in place, not losing sight that the Form C permit is our primary method of protection.
  • Request permission to use physical demarcation signs/lights as an additional communication measure on CRSA safe working limits (if they’re not already being utilised).
  • Fully establish whether the third party use blue lights for other uses to eliminate any potential confusion i.e. first aid station or to identify locations of defibrillators.
  • CRSA to supply a competent Nominated Person to:

    • Manage third party engagement – PICOP / Whiteboard meetings.
    • Act as the main point of contact.
    • Management of CRSA support staff when providing assistance.
    • Undertake Task Briefing / risk assessment briefing to include site specific controls and briefing on the Life Saving Rules.
    • Engage with lead NP.
    • If agreed apply / remove demarcation lights for CRSA safe working limits. These should always be checked to confirm in fully serviceable condition with fully charged batteries.SAFETY ALERT 2021/SA/CRSA00 27/05/2021 2


  • All OHL works must be subject to an assessment of electrical risk and must be suitably managed via a task specific risk assessment.
  • Any works that are to be undertaken within close proximity to the Safe Working Limits or Residual Hazards must be highlighted and agreed with the Electrification & Plant Manager / OHL Construction Manager.
  • A Test Before Touch schedule shall be produced highlighting all OLE in-line features.
  • Any Machine Controller with MEWP attachment competence required to attend any OHL duty must also hold OLEC 1 (Access OLE construction sites) competence.
  • Ensure that there are clear communications and briefings and confirmation from all staff that they understand the isolations limits and safe working areas. Use open questions to check understanding.
  • For further information regarding this Alert, please contact Christopher Branch, CRSA (NW&C) Electrification & Plant Manager via or 07540 539 037 or Paul Kealy CRSA (Eastern) OLE & Electrification & Plant Manager via or 07498 280 692


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