A runaway train carriage plunged 1.5 km through Sydney’s metro tunnels in one of several safety incidents.shipping

Guardian Australia said in July a 30-ton rail trailer carrying equipment for the Sydney Metro project drove out of control over 1.5km through a tunnel under construction between Marrickville and Waterloo.

Officials at the site said the only reason the workers didn’t die was because it was midday on Saturday when workers were on their break.

The July 16 incident was described by the National Railway Safety Supervisory Authority (ONRSR) as a “violation of basic train safety principles”.

The whistleblower inside the Sydney Metro is one in a series of serious incidents that have raised Guardian Australia concerns that safety has been compromised in order to meet deadlines and keep the project from going further over budget. said.

The union called for an independent inquiry, saying it was a “miracle” that no one was killed. But Sydney Metro said safety was a “top priority” and that its “lost time injury rate” was well below Safe Work Australia’s industry benchmarks.


Why “failsafe” failed

An “unintentional train separation” occurred when the pin that was supposed to pass through the drawbar ring connecting the trailer to the train did not engage as designed.

If the car detaches (which should not happen), the brakes are for decompression and emergency braking is applied. However, in this case, an improper truck brake was installed on the bogie, which did the opposite, resulting in a non-functioning “failsafe”.

Carriages carrying wires and cables continued rolling through the under-construction tunnel until chafing brought them to a halt.

The incident was so serious that regulators issued safety alerts to the industry and asked all train operators to inspect their rolling stock urgently.

We are currently auditing all rail equipment used by Sydney Metro.

A spokesperson for the regulator said: “Vehicles and braking systems remain suspended and ONRSR met with Sydney Metro this week to inspect changes made in the months since the incident to ensure that all risks to safety have been addressed. We will make sure it is under control,” he said.

The runaway wasn’t the first serious incident in the Metro project. A whistleblower provided the Guardian with a list of cases in which workers narrowly avoided deaths this year, but further investigation revealed much more.

February 2022: Two collapses occurred during demolition work at a parking lot in Parramatta, part of the Metro West project. Sydney Metro denied there was a risk to worker safety due to the no-go zone. SafeWork issued him one banning notice and one improvement notice.

Part of the Parramatta parking lot collapses during demolition as part of the Metro West project. Photo: Anne Davies/Sydney Metro

June 16th: An escalator is being installed at the new Martin Place station fell on the 4th floor, barely missing workers. Sydney Metro said contractors have appropriate exclusion zones in place. SafeWork issued him four banning notices and required him to submit a demolition plan for restoration work.

June: Pitt Street contractor workers serious injury After the personnel hoist fails. The worker tried to jump onto a nearby landing, but fell 9 meters. His injuries included a broken leg and pelvis. Sydney Metro has denied the union’s allegations that its contractors were not properly trained.

July 2nd: Three large railroad trucks lose control in the Waterloo Tunnel before colliding with each other. A report seen by The Guardian lists multiple factors, including wet tracks and “non-compliant” service brakes. Sydney Metro said the convoy was moving at a slow speed and said the cause was “loss of traction”.

A truck nearly losing its scaffolding load on the Cahill Highway en route to the Sydney Metro Waterloo, New South Wales Australia site
Scaffolding wobbles off the edge of the track on Cahill Expressway. Photo: Anne Davies/Sydney Metro

August 31: A Sydney Metro truck carrying heavy scaffolding nearly lost control of its cargo on the Cahill Expressway. Sydney Metro said the vehicle made it to the Waterloo site without incident, despite photos showing the cargo partially detached from the truck.

September: The formwork collapsed inside Crowsnest Station. This incident is under investigation by SafeWork.

pressure to provide

Inside Sydney Metro, there are growing concerns about the organization’s approach to the safety of a multi-billion dollar project that is over budget.

Metro West Line from CBD to Parramatta could explode $27 billion total, up $3 billionand the Cityline and Southwestline could cost over $5 billion. The original budget was $12.5 billion, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

There is also pressure to speed up the project.

Transport Minister David Elliott said opening the rail line from the northwest was a “priority” and spoke of a possible two-phase opening.The track work between Sydenham and Chatswood is 95% complete. cage, speculation abounded Elliott denied it at a press conference in May, but the first phase could even come before state elections in March.

“I don’t want anyone to think I’m cutting corners or working just to get votes,” Mr Elliott said.

But whistleblowers said that was not the experience of those involved in the project.

He said the pressure to meet deadlines has led to a culture of avoiding delays at all costs, including due to safety concerns.

In some cases, whistleblowers said safety incidents were downgraded to avoid being reported to Safe Work.

A spokesperson for ONRSR said runaway train incidents and other railroad track collision incidents should be reported as Category A incidents and that railway safety regulators should be called immediately to allow inspectors to collect evidence. said I need to.

Sydney Metro has reported this as a Category B incident that must be reported within 72 hours. The runaway occurred on July 16th and was notified on July 19th.

Regulators noted that the category system is relatively new. “ONRSR is pleased that the incident was reported in line with the required timeframe,” it said.

The Electricity Workers’ Union and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union said the safety issue was “not a surprise, but an emergency”.

“Our organizers have always been frustrated not only by the frequency and severity of these safety issues, but also by the lack of response from regulators such as SafeWork.It is a miracle that no one was killed. ‘ said ETU State Secretary Allen Hicks.

“But what we really need is an independent inquiry within a tight time frame. It is difficult.”

confidentiality concerns

The whistleblower said he was not alone in his concerns and that the project manager had developed an informal network to share incidents and information to fill the lack of information from Sydney Metro.

He said he felt the organization was trying to keep the union secret.

The CFMEU (NSW) said it was not aware of any incident in the tunnel.

“Safework NSW and Sydney Metro management are actively opposed to allowing CFMEU personnel access to the tunnels,” said Secretary of State Darren Greenfield.

The government is “hosting a project where the lives of dozens of workers are at risk,” said Joe Halen, a transportation spokesman for the Department of Labor.

“These shocking incidents are evidence of serious problems with the management of the Sydney Metro project,” Halen said.

“This situation is totally unacceptable. The Minister of Transport and the Minister of Infrastructure must intervene.”

A Sydney Metro spokeswoman said: “Safety is our top priority and we recognize that construction is a high-risk industry. We are working closely with our delivery partners and all relevant safety authorities. Together, we monitor and enforce safe work practices across our $60 billion construction and rail operations program.

“We expect all delivery partners to adhere to strict protocols to ensure the safety of everyone working on Sydney Metro sites. This includes reporting accidents at work. .”

Sydney Metro said the project’s lost time injury rate from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 was 1.47, “this significantly outperforms Safe Work Australia’s heavy industry and civil construction industry benchmark of 10.7. It’s going down,” he said.

A runaway train carriage plunged 1.5 km through Sydney’s metro tunnels in one of several safety incidents.shipping

Source link A runaway train carriage plunged 1.5 km through Sydney’s metro tunnels in one of several safety incidents.shipping

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