LT Health & safety

Health & safety issues on London's Transport

Letter: How To Handle Abuse?

Dear Tubeworker

Staff on the gateline in the busy station where I work face abuse from customers regularly. It can make you angry, and can get you down after a while. Although we have to learn to deal with it and carry on doing our job, I feel that we should not just 'accept' or grow to 'expect' the abuse. Unfortunately, it sometimes feels hard to know how to deal with it.

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Success: Accident Books to come back

It seems that Tubeworker can claim a victory! Why? At the recent Safety Forum, management agreed in principle to bring back Accident Books.

Union reps had originally allowed management to withdraw the books, but after Tubeworker drew attention to the potential problems, they took up the issue and pursued it to the top of the negotiating machinery.

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Central Line derailment: Management cut corners on safety

Yesterday's derailment on the Central line was in the same place as another incident just six weeks ago. On May 21, a train struck a P-way storage bin left by the track, and was lucky not to derail. Union health & safety reps complained to management and demanded an investigation. This was not the first time that union reps had complained about lineside scrap in this area. Six weeks later, no investigation, no action ... and the inevitable derailment.

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PTI Incidents Rise

It appears that there has been an increase in PTI incidents, which is especially worrying since the PTI is already the most dangerous place on the Underground.

The reasons? Management's insightful initial response is that "the main issues seemed to be customers getting caught in the doors and falling while getting on/off trains." Well yes, but customers have been falling and getting caught for many years, and this observation does nothing to explain why the number of incidents has increased.

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District Line: Safety Put At Risk To Save Pennies!

On the East End of the District Line the safety of staff and passengers are being put at risk to save money on Overtime. We at Tubeworker do not support the principle of overtime - we would rather there were enough staff to cover any eventuality. That said, LUL management have left us desperately short of cover staff so overtime has become a necessity to safely cover stations.

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Pest Control

The DLR area at Bank has a constant problem with mice - which we could just about live with, so long as the pest control contractor removed the dead bodies within a few hours of the trap catching them. But if, say, a couple of mice are caught at the weekend, and the contractor doesn't actually turn up to remove them until the following Friday, then the stench becomes terrible, and we don't like to think of the germs that are multiplying and spreading around.

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Danger: Don't Touch

We all know that cleaning standards are not great on the Underground (not because of the cleaners themselves, but because of cowboy contractors and management's general disregard for safety standards). But few of us would have considered that we might risk facial paralysis just by touching some kit.

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Give Us Back Our Accident Books

Tubeworker has reported previously on LUL's removal of Accident Books from workplaces - which, disappointingly, it seems that the unions did nothing to prevent.

LUL claims that the EIRF system covers the legal requirement to have an Accident Book, and has persuaded the spineless HMRI to rubber-stamp this. The big problem here is that, while every member of staff could pick up a pen and fill in an Accident Book should they be hurt, only certain staff have access to EIRFs. eg. Station Supervisors do, but CSAs don't. And drivers don't. And apparently, even union health & safety reps don't!

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St Pauls: Demanding Dignity

OK, so a station undergoing a refurb is never going to be the most comfortable place to work, but St Pauls became a nightmare. A mess room unfit to eat in, toilets unfit to use, staff feeling vulnerable on the gateline late at night cos the Supervisors' office has been temporarily relocated away from the ticket hall.

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Spurious OPO Alarms

The tragic death of a Northern line driver highlights the important problem of spurious OPO alarms.

The OPO alarm is a crucial warning to the controller that something may have happened to a driver, but Northern line controllers receive so many spurious alarms that they are inevitably taken less seriously.

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Not Enough Staff = Not Enough Safety

Last night at Bank, call point operation triggered an evacuation ... and the P.A. failed. No Inspector Sands, no P.A. from the control room, nothing.

With superhuman effort, the staff evacuated the complex in twenty minutes. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Had it been a fire, people would have died.

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Healthy Eating

Well thanks, LUL, for sending us all a nice little booklet about healthy eating. We don't feel in the least bit patronised.

What we'd prefer, though, is reasonable eating times, and access to canteens that sell affordable, nice, healthy food, and enough time to eat and digest it in comfort. Instead we have to eat at unnatural times of the day, in 30-minute meal break in shabby mess rooms.

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Piccadilly Line Wheel Cracks: Heads In The Sand

Management still have their heads in the sand over the cracked wheel sets on the Piccadilly line. They've had the whole fleet checked now, but don't seem to think there is a need to check them again in the foreseeable future.

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Piccadilly Line: cracked wheel sets

The Piccadilly line fleet has a serious problem with cracks on wheel sets. On Wednesday (20th September), a driver reported a bang beneath his train. Although this was the first that drivers knew of it, it seems that management have been aware of this problem for more like ten days.

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Refusing on Safety Grounds

Finsbury Park closed today when station staff refused to work on safety grounds.

A local union safety rep was shocked to find that contractors had isolated fire detection devices in secure rooms without taking the steps in their Method Statement to ensure safety. So staff refused to work, and the problem was swiftly rectified. But quite rightly, station staff were not prepared to work with the Project Manager who had authorised this reckless risk-taking, and things stood at a deadlock until his booking-off time of 19:00.

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