WHEN must I use duplex comms? :

This is easy, according to the Network Rail mandate it is:

“where personnel are required to undertake activities involving on-track machines or on-track plant on or about Network Rail managed infrastructure”

The Network Rail mandate not only lists where and when duplex comms should be used but also what you should do in the event of a failure.

WHEN should you use duplex comms? :

We believe that effective communication between Machine Operator and Controller is much better when using Duplex communications (we recommend Setcom full duplex bluetooth headsets). If a system is more efficient and safer why wouldn’t you use it all the time, regardless of whether or not you are mandated to do so? Many of our civils customers use duplex comms for their machines even though they may not be working on or around Network Rail infrastructure.

WHY should I use duplex comms? :

If you are working with on-track plant on or around Network Rail infrastructure then you are mandated to by Network Rail, also because effective communication leads to more efficient and safer systems of working.

WHO should use Duplex Comms? :

Duplex comms must be used by machine controller and machine operator. There are of course instances when other users will be required but for the most part it will just be machine controller and machine operator.

WHICH Duplex comms should I use? :

There are currently 3 different types of full duplex comms that are type approved for use on Network Rail infrastructure.

  • Setcom full duplex bluletooth headsets.
  • Athena full Bluetooth headsets.
  • Dect Comm II radios + headset.


WHAT can I do if my comms. are not working properly?

If you are working when the Duplex comms fail then there are a number of things that you re mandated by Network Rail to do:

  • 1. - The MC/CC must attempt to source replacement equipment. (Additional sets should be planned for and held in case this safety critical equipment fails).
  • 2. - If the time required to source alternative equipment imports risk to successfully completing the task within the given possession working time, an alternative agreed safe system of work can be used.
  • 3. - The MC/CC MUST record on his OTP Work Plan why an agreed alternative safe system of work is being used and the type/reason of failure of the radio equipment and report the defect to the site or line manager.
  • 4. - Equipment failure and consequent actions must be reported through the Close Call system.

If you are not working on track and it is safe for you to do so then you can troubleshoot your duplex comms. by switching off the kit and following the startup procedure user instructions.

If restarting the device does not solve the problem then please consider the following questions:

  • Are the radios fully charged? – If not then put them on charge.
  • Is the charger working correctly? – If not then switch out chargers.
  • Are the radios paired with their original partner? – If the radios are yours then re-pair the handsets/headsets. If they are on hire then make sure that the handsets/headsets match the paired unit numbers on your hire contract. If you mix headsets/handsets from different kits then they will not work.

If you are still having issues then contact the professionals:

We are here to help with all your communications needs. If you are having issues with your duplex comms then we would like to hear from you. You can reach us via the contact page of our website