The Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum has released a report into the death of a railway maintenance worker who was struck down by a passing iron ore train last year.
The worker had been working on a mainline track and was standing between a “tamper” track maintenance machine and the passing train, which was travelling on a bypass rail line.
According to the Department, it appears there was a problem with the tamper’s work heads on the dual rail side, which prompted the worker to leave the machine’s rear cabin and walk between the two lines to investigate.
The train was travelling at about 35 km per hour when the incident occurred.
The Department said the mainline and bypass rail lines were 3.5 m apart and had a rail vehicle clearance of about 1.75 m, which would expose workers to moving machinery hazards.
The Department also said the time on the tamper was also out of sync with train control by eight minutes.
The train driver did not sound the horn, because no personnel were expected to be on foot in the area.
The worker was also working his first nightshift of a fly-in fly-out roster and, including travel, flight and work arrangements, may have been awake for nineteen hours before the accident.
The Department recommended that manufacturers include an internal walkway between the rear and front cabins of tamper machines.
Rail companies should also, where practicable, provide adequate track separation or safety barriers.
According to the Government, employees should ensure all rail operations are on synchronised time and that fatigue management policies are working well.