Measures to improve safety at Dutch classification yard Kijfhoek
Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail has commissioned an independent investigation into the safety culture at Kijfhoek, the main classification yard of the Netherlands. It has also taken serious safety measures. This was in response to a report by the Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), stating that safety procedures in place are regularly ignored.
One of the measures taken is the appointment of an integral manager. This person will be responsible for a safe site management at the classification yard. This includes carrying out certain short-term measures, setting up a structural improvement plan and re-establishing trust between ProRail and its regional partners.
In terms of traffic management several measures have already been taken. Every day kicks off with a safety start, testing compliance of the activities on the previous day with the safety procedures in place. There will also be unannounced safety instructions.
On site, rail staff may only commence work after an extensive safety instruction. ProRail structurally employs supervisors to monitor these measures, and other steps taken to improve overall safety. This is in addition to weekly safety checks of ProRail managers, the haulier and contractor. ProRail said it has streamlined these measures with the parties concerned.
Breach of law
The safety concern arose after four accidents had taken place in less than two months. On 15 June a Strukton wagon rolled down a hill, colliding with a flat wagon containing flammable goods. The flat wagon derailed as a result. Although the accident did not result in damages, investigation was carried out by the ILT. This led to a report stating that safety procedures and protocols were violated regularly and hence, the railway law was breached.
On 18 July, ProRail paused shunting as well as maintenance operations in order to grasp what had gone wrong. After installing additional supervision, it resumed shunting activities a day later. The municipality Zwijndrecht had voiced criticism, urging ProRail to replace its outdated computer system for the shunting process in order to eliminate human error as much as possible. ProRail agreed to look into this, according to the municipality.