As a leading partner in the design and delivery of engineering and maintenance projects, AmcoGiffen specialises in renewal, refurbishment and construction work on critical assets and infrastructure. Completing complex projects every year, the company works across many different sectors, including rail.
In the five years to 2024, Network Rail will have invested £53bn for track renewals, upgrades and maintenance on the UK’s railway. As the largest provider of multidisciplinary maintenance and renewals engineering services to Network Rail, AmcoGiffen operates in one of the most complex, challenging and highly regulated environments.
As a company, demonstrating both its commitment and evidence of safety is vitally important given the dangers and risks of working trackside.
Due to the high-risk nature of working in the rail industry, ensuring the safety of people on the ground is paramount. Keeping the workforce safe involves a vast array of procedures, controls, competencies and systems of work that are designed to prioritise safety and protect workers.
While worker protection continues to be an industry priority, a leading cause of many trackside incidents is due to diminishing worker situational awareness, which can contribute to avoidable fatalities and near misses with trains. With a commitment to workforce safety, AmcoGiffen were looking for a solution to address this potential issue and help improve worker situational awareness.
AmcoGiffen is a leading provider of projects and maintenance along what is known as ‘line of route’, meaning that their teams often work near open, running railway lines. Works in these environments include vegetation clearance and safe ingress and egress from site.
The open railway line setting can be especially hazardous as a wrong move from misunderstood or misinterpreted instructions, or a loss of situational awareness could be the difference between life and death.
Tended opened a dialogue with AmcoGiffen about how additional workforce protection through high-precision geofencing could help when working near open lines as well as provide focused support to site wardens, whose sole responsibility is to keep every worker in their sight.
The challenge of ensuring that teams are accessing the work zone at the authorised, planned location and can walk safely to their worksite is also a risk factor. Entering at the wrong point and commencing work on the wrong line can have catastrophic consequences. This challenge might be exacerbated by poor visibility, adverse weather conditions and remote site locations as well as human factors such as misinterpretation of instructions.
Planners are already extremely busy as they have to ensure the safe working packs that they produce meet the highest standards for accuracy and completeness. Significantly adding to their workload with a system that requires high involvement would not be viable so the introduction of any new process or technology had to be quick and simple to use.
Tended created a project and delivery structure to deploy geofencing wearables for use where people would be working on adjacent line open works. It was recommended that wearables were activated at a point of entry near to the railway, assuring the Person in Charge of the worksite could be sure that, using the technology, they knew they were using the correct safe access point.
AmcoGiffen’s planners used Tended’s Planning Dashboard to accurately define safe working zones by mapping geofences over their worksite. Using information included in the Safe Work Pack, they were able to create zones to match miles and chains or What3words reference points to pinpoint the work location.
Planners benefited from using high-resolution imagery on the Planning Dashboard so that absolute precision was assured at the planning stage and supporting a right-first-time approach as they used the measurement tool to measure exact distances required from an open line.
Throughout the implementation process, Tended worked alongside AmcoGiffen to ensure the most efficient and successful set-up possible. With Tended’s Behavioural Science team on the ground with the workforce every step of the way, AmcoGiffen’s team received ongoing engagement support to ensure early and sustainable device adoption.
Using Tended’s technology, and seeing it in action, AmcoGiffen’s teams immediately grasped the importance and benefits of using the device trackside to keep them safe. The alerts that notify workers upon them leaving a safe working zone were seen as a positive method of helping them to regain situational awareness:
"I stepped back when I was doing a briefing and the alarm went off, I wouldn't have known otherwise" - COSS, AmcoGiffen
This also highlights the behavioural change element of the solution, with it being seen as an additional ‘tap on the shoulder’ should they lose situational awareness. It was also seen as a seamless integration into their working practices.
"I don't even think about it, I put it on and get on with my work".
Over the course of the project, over 172 hours of data were analysed to monitor the wearables’ performance in the valleys of South Wales, where cellular connection can be very limited. The median positioning accuracy of Tended’s wearables was 16mm and mean positioning accuracy was 42.5mm. The Network Rail standard for geofencing is 300mm, meaning that users benefited from “impressive” rates of accuracy which strengthened their confidence in the technology.
Tended also analysed the mean distance from the edge of the safe zone boundary, which indicates the overall safe positions of the team while they were working. This average was 21.9mm from the edge, which was exactly in line with expectations.
With the incredible accuracy achieved throughout the project, along with successful worker adoption and engagement, Tended’s geofencing solution has been proven to deliver powerful safety benefits that align with AmcoGiffen’s commitment to worker safety.
As the first principal contractor to begin using Tended’s life-saving technology on the railway, AmcoGiffen is playing a vital role in helping to bring geofencing to the forefront of the industry and pioneering the future of safety technology on the rail. Together, we are helping to revolutionise track worker safety and onsite operations, making sure everyone gets home safe, every day.
“Tended allows us to better protect our teams in a way that hasn’t been done before by using innovation in safety.
“Our commitment to keeping our track workers safe is absolute and uncompromising. Tended shares that commitment and what impressed me is that they have designed a product that puts the user first. Our people were very impressed with device accuracy. This is essential in building trust and confidence.
“The planning dashboard is intuitive and easy to use which is vital in ensuring the geofence aligns with the overall plan. Importantly, using Tended means we don’t need to install any onsite beacons, so we can deploy really quickly, maintaining our speed in responding to our clients’ requirements.”