Thursday, August 25, 2022

Safety message: Sandbox maintenance

As the saying goes, what can go wrong will go wrong and it’s this reality ONRSR wants rail transport operators to more actively consider when assessing what have been generally low safety risks.

Image AUS rail into the distance

Often the focus of risk assessments are new or emerging risks, but increasingly this is coming at the expense of holistic examinations that also cover historically safe practices by employing the most thorough risk assessments possible.

A prime example is ONRSRs’ recent observations of sandbox maintenance where deficiencies in process are creating the potential for dangerous incidents resulting in serious injuries or worse.

ONRSR investigations have revealed that more comprehensive maintenance may have prevented sandboxes becoming loose and falling from locomotives causing considerable damage to both rolling stock and infrastructure and posing a significant risk to the public.

In these cases, investigators have identified that welds holding sandboxes to the bogie frames have become corroded and ineffective. These welds had failed exposing steel that showed oxidisation, signifying the welds had separated from the steel some time prior to the sandbox dislodging.

Further examination of other locomotives used by the rail transport operators involved in the incidents found multiple cases of broken welds, missing bolts and unsecured blower covers.

Sandbox mainteanance 1
Sandbox mainteanance 2

ONRSR is asking all operators to review their maintenance and inspection schedules to include the regular examination of sandboxes and their securing mechanisms. Operators should also review their safety management systems to consider other like rolling stock or infrastructure features that may not have received adequate attention in the past.

Last updated: Jan 11, 2023, 12:08:11 PM