Report on fire in a snow shed near Bjørnfjell station on the Ofotbanen line om 8 August 2018

Download report

Description

In the morning of 8 August 2018, a snow shed near Bjørnfjell station on the Ofotbanen line burnt to the ground. Before the fire, a work team had carried out maintenance work on the tracks in the snow shed. The work was part of a major maintenance project carried out in summer 2018. Bane NOR SF was the client. Three days of work on the section between Bjørnfjell and Narvik remained to complete the project.

The safe job analysis carried out by the contractor immediately before the work began did not include hot work in the snow shed. No extra fire safety measures were implemented inside the snow shed, and nor was a fire watch posted for one hour after the completion of the last of the hot work as required by Bane NOR SF.

The last of the two welding jobs inside the snow shed was done at around 09:20. The last member of the work team left the snow shed at around 10:10, when the construction site restrictions were lifted. The work team had left Bjørnfjell by 10:30. At 10:40, an ore train from LKAB passed the site and the driver claims to have smelled smoke in the snow shed. Witnesses notified the police of the fire at 10:53. It took 48 minutes from the fire service was notified until they arrived on the scene. Gas cylinders left in the snow shed delayed the fire-extinguishing efforts. The structure was reported to be completely burnt down at 13:16.

The AIBN's investigation of the incident has identified several factors of importance to safety. The AIBN is of the opinion that the most probable cause of the fire was the hot work carried out in the snow shed. The incipient fire was not discovered in time because of the failure to keep watch after the hot work was completed. The risk of fire in the wooden snow shed had not been sufficiently managed during the preparations for the work. Bane NOR had little focus on the contractor’s compliance with fire safety requirements. The safe job analysis (SJA) did not cover hot work in the snow shed. The AIBN is of the opinion that Bane NOR SF, as the client and the party defining the requirements, should to a greater extent follow up when a SJA is to be used, how to carry out a SJA and why.

The AIBN submits two safety recommendations to Bane NOR SF in connection with this case. One concerns Bane NOR SF’s fire safety requirements. The other concerns the quality of suppliers’ safe job analyses work.

Foto Bane NOR 2

Foto Bane NOR

Photo: Bane NOR

Safety recommendation

Safety recommendation JB No 2019/04T

On Wednesday 8 August 2018, a snow shed on the Ofotbanen line near Bjørnfjell station was completely destroyed by fire. Bane NOR SF had ordered maintenance to be carried out on the track that night as part of a bigger project. It is probable that that hot work caused the fire. An ore train passed through the snow shed just a few minutes before the fire was reported. The supplier did not comply with fire safety requirements. The client, Bane NOR SF, did not follow up fire safety requirements properly in connection with hot work carried out in the project.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Railway Authority request Bane NOR SF to evaluate whether the fire safety requirements relating to hot work are effective, expedient and possible to control in relation to work carried out by suppliers.

Safety recommendation JB No 2019/05T

On Wednesday 8 August 2018, a snow shed on the Ofotbanen line near Bjørnfjell station was completely destroyed by fire. Bane NOR SF had ordered maintenance to be carried out on the track that night as part of a bigger project. It is probable that that hot work caused the fire. An ore train passed through the snow shed just a few minutes before the fire was reported. The supplier's safe job analysis did not include hot work in the snow shed, and the use of safe job analyses in the project has not been in line with the intention.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway recommends that the Norwegian Railway Authority request Bane NOR SF to implement measures intended to improve the quality of their suppliers' work in relation to safe job analyses.

Location
Bjørnfjell
Occurrence date
08.08.2018
Type of occurrence
Fire and smoke development
image
Report on fire in a snow shed near Bjørnfjell station on the Ofotbanen line om 8 August 2018 Download report
Back to the top