Understanding your COSS/SWL brief is hugely important if you are going to stay safe, It is very important that if you feel comortable about asking the COSS or Safe Work Leader to clarify anything you dont understand.
The Safety briefing
The COSS (controller of site safety) will make sure that you have a safe system of work (sometimes called SSOW) so you are not at risk from trains or electrified equipment. The COSS wears a blue badge with COSS on it.
The safety briefing will include:
- Where you will work and what you will do
- How you will get to the work site
- What hazards there are
- What the site limits are
- The speed limit and direction of the lines and whether they are open or blocked
- How you will communicate in an emergency and who to contact.
The safe system of work will also tell you how you will be protected from trains:
- Fence – a fence will be put up between your worksite and the nearest open line.
- Safeguard – all lines are blocked and no trains will come through the site.
- Site warden – a site warden will make sure you stay in a safe area while you work. Never distract a site warden.
- Equipment warning – a warning system, operated by a lookout, or automatically, or by the train, will give you enough warning to reach a safe position at least 10 seconds before a train arrives.
- Lookout warning – a lookout will warn you in time to get to a position of safety at least 10 seconds before the train arrives. Never distract a lookout.
You must be in a position of safety at least 10 seconds before a train arrives. Acknowledge the driver’s warning by raising one arm above your head. Do not leave your position of safety until the COSS tells you to do so.
What is a position of safety?
A position of safety is:
- At least 1.25metres (four feet) from the running line for trains going up to 100 miles per hour
- At least 2 meters (six foot six inches) from the running line for trains going between 101 and 125 miles per hour.
- An authorised walking route provides safe access to or from a place of work.
Before you go onto or near the line:
- Make sure you have your Sentinel card with you.
- Wear the appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment). This includes safety boots, a hard hat (white or blue) and orange high visibility clothing. You may not wear yellow, red or green clothing or hard hat because these colours are used for signals on the railway.
- Know the speed and direction of trains.
- Know any other hazards.
- Walk in a position of safety and face the direction of the trains if you can.
- Take extra care in junction areas.
- Have a safe system of work agreed before you go out.
- Report anything that you think is unsafe.