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Keeping Our Workers Safe: Coyle Personnel Participate in Rail Safety Week

Written by

Eric Smith

Date posted

28 June, 2024

For over 25 years, Coyle Rail has been a leading name in rail recruitment, acting as a trusted partner to some of the biggest names in the UK industry.  Our dedicated staff work on some of the most innovative and large-scale rail projects across the country, and their safety on the tracks has remained our paramount concern.

Rail Safety Week (24th – 30th June) is an industry-wide initiative dedicated to promoting best practices and raising awareness for everyone who works in the railway industry. Throughout this week, Coyle Rail has been actively involved in educating and informing our staff on five key aspects of rail safety, all of which fall under the umbrella of  Health and Safety Reporting.  In this article, we'll delve into each of these topics, highlighting the resources and information we've provided to ensure our workers have the knowledge and tools to stay safe on the tracks.


Close Calls

Rail Safety Week began on Monday the 24th of June and the first topic we discussed with our rail workers was the importance of reporting ‘close calls’. As highlighted through an in-depth email communication by Simon Shaw, Coyle Rail's HSQE Manager, a close call is any situation or event that could have resulted in injury, damage, or loss. It's important to remember that close calls aren't always immediately recognised, and they can be easily dismissed.

The key takeaway? Reporting close calls is vital. By staying silent, you risk allowing the situation to happen again.  That's why Coyle Rail encourages immediate reporting – not waiting days or weeks, as details can become hazy.  A close call, remember, isn't the same as a "near miss," which typically involves a train or on-track plant.

Reporting a close call can serve as valuable lesson for everyone involved. By investigating these "free lessons," we can prevent future accidents and incidents. Throughout the day, Coyle Rail provided resources and reiterated the importance of reporting close calls following these steps:

  1. Immediately report the incident to your supervisor or line manager, providing full details.
  2. Utilise the main contractor's close call reporting process (e.g., close call app) if applicable.

For close calls directly related to Coyle Rail (e.g., driving for work, fatigue, PPE), our workers can report them to a Coyle Rail resource/contact immediately and before leaving the site. Close calls can also be reported through the Coyle Health and Safety Matters website by clicking the dedicated "Close Call" button on the Coyle Health and Safety matters website page. By remaining vigilant and reporting close calls, we can work together to create a safer work environment for everyone at Coyle Rail.


Work Safe Procedures

On Tuesday, June 25th, Coyle Rail transitioned from close calls to emphasise the importance of Work Safe procedures.  These procedures permit everyone involved in Network Rail Infrastructure projects to stop work and voice concerns if a task feels unsafe.

The message is clear: prioritise safety above all else. If a staff member is ever unsure about a task's safety, they shouldn’t hesitate to speak up. Coyle Rail have ensured that the first point of contact for any worker is always their immediate supervisor.  If the issue persists and they remain uncomfortable proceeding, they’re able to raise their concerns to a Site/Project Safety Manager.

Coyle Rail also recognise situations where on-site communication might be challenging.  In those instances, staff are encouraged to reach out to their dedicated Coyle Rail personal consultant contact.  When it comes to safety, trusting your instinct is crucial so if something feels off, it’s essential to voice a concern.

The importance of speaking up is further reinforced by the knowledge that no disciplinary action will be taken against anyone with legitimate concerns about work safety.  If navigating the standard channels feels uncomfortable to any of our staff, Coyle Rail provides the confidential and independent CIRAS reporting system as a resource.  Reachable on 0800 4 101 101, CIRAS allows workers to report safety concerns anonymously.  By prioritising open communication and permitting our staff to stop unsafe work, Coyle Rail adopts a safe and collaborative work environment for everyone.


Fatigue Reporting

Fatigue is a serious safety concern, and Coyle Rail recognises the importance of addressing it proactively. All of our staff have a responsibility to report any instance of fatigue that could hinder your ability to work safely. This includes feeling tired upon arrival or during their shift.

As an experienced Rail Recruitment agency, we acknowledge the various factors that contribute to fatigue,  including extended wakefulness, poor sleep quality, workload, and even medical conditions. There are several potential consequences of fatigue on performance, from issues such as concentration difficulties and lapses in attention, to memory problems and failure to anticipate events. These can all lead to serious safety risks, not only for one worker but also an entire gang.

As an organisation, we encourage our workers to speak up if they feel their own or a coworker's alertness is compromised. Team Leaders, Supervisors, and Managers are all designated as points of contact for these concerns. Coyle Rail provides its staff with additional resources to combat fatigue, including:

  • A dedicated Coyle Rail Contact Numbers link for easy access to support.
  • A link to an informative page on Driver Fatigue.
  • A link to the comprehensive Coyle Health and Safety Matters website.


Physical Health and Medication

As the week progressed, Simon Shaw shifted the focus of his daily emails away from reporting of safety concerns to instead prioritise the health and well-being of our staff. Our team of rail managers understand that a worker's physical health and medication use can significantly impact their ability to perform tasks safely. That's why we encourage open communication about any changes in your physical health that could compromise safety. This includes significant life events impacting sleep or focus, new diagnoses like diabetes or high blood pressure, and even sleep disorders like sleep apnea.

On Thursday, we shared information with all our workers about medication to be mindful of, including prescription and over-the-counter options. These include painkillers, antidepressants, tranquilisers, cold and flu remedies, and even hay fever medications containing antihistamines. Any medication with warnings like "may cause drowsiness" or "do not operate machinery" should be reported to a Manager, Supervisor, or COSS/SWL immediately.

We also reminded our staff to always declare any medications they are taking to medical personnel prior to an alcohol or drugs test. By promoting open communication and responsible medication management, Coyle Rail aim to offer a work environment where physical health and well-being are paramount.


Mental Health and Wellbeing

Finally, Coyle Rail is firmly committed to supporting our staff members’ health and well-being, both at work and at home.  Many Coyle Personnel managers are trained Mental Health First Aiders, equipped to offer guidance and support in accessing mental health resources.

Coyle Rail provides a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme to support it’s workers with a wide range of issues, including:

  • Family concerns
  • Medical information
  • Addiction and substance abuse
  • Low mood and depression
  • Financial difficulties
  • Relationship challenges
  • Childcare support
  • Domestic abuse
  • Tax and legal information
  • Housing concerns
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Retirement planning
  • Dealing with bereavement

In addition to these resources, Coyle Rail offers free access to the WISDOM App. This app features a variety of tools to promote well-being, including:

  • Wellbeing trackers
  • Calming breathing exercises
  • Customisable four-week health plans
  • Mini health checks

Coyle Rail, furthermore, offers free Mental Health First Aider training to any agency worker interested.  Simply reach out to your Coyle representative or the HSQE Team at hsqeteam@coyles.co.uk to learn more.


Leading the Way in Rail Safety

Rail Safety Week has served as a powerful reminder of the importance of prioritising safety in every aspect of our work at Coyle Rail. Over the past five days, we've explored a range of critical topics that fall under the umbrella of Health and Safety Reporting.

By actively promoting rail safety information through open email communications, we’ve provided all our staff with comprehensive resources that can assist them in reporting close calls and fatigue, maintaining work safe procedures, and looking after both their physical and mental health. Coyle Rail are industry leaders in ensuring all of our workers adhere to safety regulations, regardless of their role on the tracks.

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