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Escalator trolleys make light of heavy work

Escalator trolleys are being used by Tube Lines to enhance the safe working of its track team responsible for upgrading 109 kilometres of track by 2010. The trolley – specifically designed for use on the London Underground network – brings many benefits, including reducing the risk of manual handling injuries, improving efficiency and productivity on site and reducing the risk of damage to track related assets.

The trolleys can safely transport materials and machinery weighing up to 160kg to and from stations, loads usually carried by engineers, and have the ability to mount escalators and manoeuvre through barriers. Engineers are now able to mobilise and demobilise a site more efficiently, freeing up their time to carry out the track renewal works during the limited engineering hours when the current on the rails is switched off at night.

The safety of employees and contractors working on the Underground is crucial at Tube Lines. A number of initiatives have been developed to boost their safety, including the initiative P-CRID – a trackside fixture that lets engineers working on the Underground know when the live rail is turned off from a place of safety. The company has also developed a pioneering new safety scheme – the Beacon Site scheme – aimed at encouraging employees to take pride in their work, with safety and good housekeeping being major parts of the initiative. The introduction of the escalator trolley is yet another safety initiative brought in to support the work of its employees.

Accident rates are now well below the industry standard with employees being four times less likely to have an accident than when the company took over its three lines in 2003.

The need to introduce the trolleys was identified by Tube Lines’ People Based Safety initiative which promotes safe behaviour at work. The scheme plays a critical part of the management of health and safety at Tube Lines, turning systems and procedures into everyday practice. The scheme uses an anonymous observation and feedback process that helps to reinforce safe working behaviours, identify at-risk behaviours and understand why they are happening. By encouraging safer working practices, Tube Lines is able to reduce the number of injuries that occur.

Geoff Buxton, Tube Lines permanent way safety and compliance manager said:

“The introduction of the escalator trolleys provides a safe method of transporting heavy materials through a station to the platform. A trolley can carry a load that usually takes six men to carry manually, meaning that we have fewer engineers transporting materials and more working on the task in hand. During engineering hours, when we have up to five hours to work, this can really help get the most from each shift.”

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