LT Health & safety

More Trouble at Victoria's New Entrance

Another tragedy occurred outside the new Cardinal Place entrance to Victoria Underground Station at around 15:00 yesterday (23 February) as a man sustained life-changing injuries as part of the entrance signage came free and hit him in the head during high winds and very close in proximity to the very spot where a man suffered a fatal heart attack at the same entrance recently.

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Bosses at stations across the combine are threatening to take away water coolers from staff mess rooms, apparently due to the provider's contract expiring.

Staff have been told to drink from the regular tap. Pictures obtained by Tubeworker show that these taps are caked in scum and limescale, and certainly not suitable to drink from (see below; or, if you're reading this on Facebook, click the link to view the picture on our blog). Access to proper drinking water is a basic requirement for dignity and health and safety at work.

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Dust To Dust

A recent study by scientists at the University of Surrey has found that Tube users are exposed to eight times the level of harmful pollutants of car users.

The scientists rightly highlighted this as a class issue, showing that those who can afford to own and run a car are exposed to fewer health risks than those who have to rely on public transport. Bus users are also exposed to five times the pollution of car users.

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Go, Look, Sexism

A set of Bostwick gates at Victoria is dragging rather more than it ought to, so management have come up with an ingenious solution - women staff are not to handle the gates.

Yes, you read that right. In the sort of blatant, in-your-face sexism that is rarely seen these days (not because there is little sexism, but because it is usually less blatant), a 'Go Look See' visit has come up with this pitiful response.

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Broken Rails

Victoria line rails broke clean through twice in the space of three days last week. Given that this usually happens only once a month across the whole network, you'd think it would set the alarm bells ringing.

It has certainly set management's excuse-mongering machine rolling.

While telling us that they don't yet have a full report, management seem happy to suggest that the problem was caused during welding or installation. Without actually using the word 'conicidence', management imply it by stating that the two incidents do not have the same root cause.

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Wot No Taxis?

The staff taxi service on Christmas Eve night was a disgrace.

Lots of staff were left standing in the dark and cold for up to several hours, waiting for cabs that didn't arrive, making phone calls and being repeatedly fobbed off. It's just good luck that (as far as we know) nobody was badly assaulted.

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Taking The Piss... And Worse?

Spare a thought for the staff, particularly cleaners, and passengers who had a nasty surprise at Oxford Circus late last month when a sewer pipe burst, leading to what might euphemistically be referred to as brown effluence leaking on the Argyll gate line and down towards the escalators.

A long-awaited refurb of the staff toilets was underway at the time. Tubeworker wonders whether the company LU hired to do the job might've botched it, leading to the... ahem... shitty situation.

Yet another argument for bringing maintenance work back in house.

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LU workers and contractors who risk coming into contact with rats and mice in bin rooms and machines chambers are meant to be issued with medical briefing cards about leptospirosis (Weil's disease).

Some AGS agency cleaners on the Bakerloo, Central, and Victoria Lines have been denied these cards. AGS say it's Interserve's responsibility to provide them; Interserve say the agency must do it. Tubeworker would like to knock AGS and Interserve's proverbial heads together. Their buck-passing is putting cleaners' health at risk.

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North Greenwich Terror Alert

A controlled explosion was carried out on a suspect package at North Greenwich Tube station on 20 October, highlighting the ongoing possibility of a further terrorist atrocity on London Underground. Nobody was injured this time and the diligence and professionalism of the workers involved must be recognised.

On 7/7, frontline London Underground staff were amongst the first to respond, rushing to incident scenes, arranging and facilitating emergency service response, and evacuating passengers to safety at stations across London.

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Slimer Returns!

Recent heavy rainfall led to serious flooding at many stations, including Balham. Maintenance workers put bright green dye in the water supply to identify exactly where the flooding was originating, making the station look like it had been attacked by Slimer from Ghostbusters.

Incidents like this, as well as recent leakage problems at Oxford Circus, show some serious deficiencies in basic infrastructural maintenance. Years of budget cuts and outsourcing of maintenance work can't have helped.

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