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Zonegreen – Game set and match for depot safety

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Stand M11

According to the RSSB’s most recent Annual Health and Safety Report, more than 20% of workforce harm and fatalities have occurred in maintenance facilities in the last five years. This impaired health is a huge problem for the industry. The safety board estimates it costs £899 million annually, with 1.3 million days lost to sickness absence. This is twice the national average.

Leading safety expert, Christian Fletcher, head of Engineering at Sheffield’s Zonegreen, has been striving to improve working conditions in rail depots for more than 20 years. He said: “We all know high-speed vehicles, high voltage electricity, and powerful machinery introduce significant elements of risk into the maintenance environment, but the stark findings of the RSSB show not enough is being done to focus on the safety of depot workers and provide conditions in which staff can fulfil their role without fear.”

Christian believes technology is the answer and can be used to automate and regulate depot safety, eliminating the margin for human error. As a result, he and his team at Zonegreen have developed one of the most advanced protection systems on the market, allowing the safe and efficient control of vehicles in maintenance environments.

Technology has an important role to play
Zonegreen’s Depot Personnel Protection System (DPPS) safeguards maintenance staff from unexpected train movements via Network Rail-approved powered derailers.

Staff log onto DPPS using RFID tags, which record their location and activate the appropriate derailers. They remain in place until the operative has logged off and the road is once again opened to traffic.

Access permission for a train can only be granted by a supervisor, who uses a conveniently positioned road-end control panel. They are usually situated next to depot doors, giving a clear view of incoming and outgoing vehicles. If the derailer has been lowered, the signal to proceed will be given and audible and visual warnings activated to indicate movement.

DPPS can also be linked to Zonegreen’s advanced Depot Manager software, offering an overview of the entire protection system and complete traceability. It provides key information to make operations easier and quicker to implement, for example, identifying peak movement times, so additional focus can be placed on safety during these highest risk periods.

A perfect match for Wimbledon
One of the latest facilities to be equipped with Zonegreen’s state-of-the-art technology is South Western Railway’s Wimbledon Traincare Depot in London. The firm worked with Octavius Infrastructure to deliver the project, which saw DPPS replace an existing obsolete safety system. The depot remained fully operational whilst the new technology was installed on five double-ended roads and two singled-ended roads.

Christian continued: “Due to its age, state, and the availability of parts, an increasing number of faults and breakdowns were occurring on Wimbledon’s former safety system, making it difficult to safeguard the workforce and carry out maintenance activities. It is crucial in such a busy depot that staff are protected by reliable and effective technology and they now have that in DPPS. It works for the facility’s current needs and is futureproofed to allow further upgrades to be integrated seamlessly.”

Independent accreditation
DPPS is not only one of the most advanced safety system on the market, but also the most thoroughly tested and proven in use, meaning it is the lowest risk option for depot protection.

The whole system has been independently certified to meet both the hardware and software requirements of SIL 2 – a reliability assessment of the relative risk reduction provided by a safety system. It is also compliant with the European standards for railway and radio emissions, and uses intuitive technology to make it easier to maintain, modify, and expand, extending the lifetime of the product.

Safety demonstrations
Zonegreen will be showcasing its DPPS at Railtex this year, on stand M11 at Birmingham’s NEC, from 9-11 May. Throughout the event, the firm’s head of engineering and global expert in depot protection, Christian Fletcher, will be delivering informative and educational workshops about the risks to staff in maintenance depots.

To register your interest in attending Zonegreen’s Railtex workshops, or for more information about its suite of safety systems, telephone (0114) 230 0822 or visit www.zonegreen.co.uk.

Rail Engineer is the leading independent quality monthly magazine for engineers, project managers, directors and leading rail executive decision makers. Head to www.railsubs.com to make a free subscription to RailEngineer magazine or one of its sister publications.


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