LT Health & safety

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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Something In The Air Tonight

A recent article in Time Out magazine reminded readers of a study by scientists at University College London, which concluded that the air quality on the Tube is so poor that spending 20 minutes on the Northern Line has an equivalent effect on the lungs as smoking a cigarette.

If that's the case, what effect does a two-hour SATS duty have? Or a night shift in the tunnel for track workers? Or the eight hours that cleaners often spend at platform level?

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Oxford Circus Swimming Pool?

Staff at Oxford Circus are wondering whether they might soon need waders and galoshes as part of their PPE, as a series of leaks have led to significant build-ups of water on platforms and in passageways.

Station staff and cleaners have done a good job managing the situation to keep the place safe for passengers, but unless the underlying issue (which seems to be a problem with piping) is properly fixed in short order, that won't be possible for much longer. Union safety reps are on the case and will need to make sure management don't cut corners with safety.

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Wot No Formal Investigation?

Tubeworker is beginning to wonder just how major an incident has to be before Central Line management will carry out a formal investigation.

Tree falling by the line and damaging trains? Nah. Tunnel roof falling in? Nah. Stabbing causing serious injuries? Nah.

Management seem to think that all these can be dealt with by local reports or 'workshops'. Perhaps that makes it easier for them to gloss over their own failings and blame staff? Without a formal investigation, who knows?

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Wot No Formal Investigation?

Tubeworker is beginning to wonder just how major an incident has to be before Central Line management will carry out a formal investigation.

Tree falling by the line and damaging trains? Nah. Tunnel roof falling in? Nah. Stabbing causing serious injuries? Nah.

Management seem to think that all these can be dealt with by local reports or 'workshops'. Perhaps that makes it easier for them to gloss over their own failings and blame staff? Without a formal investigation, who knows?

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Get Sick, Get Sacked?

Two recent cases of what might well amount to disability discrimination have shed further light on how LU treats its staff.

Two workers "failed" their probations, both due to attendance issues related to serious physical conditions. (Read more here.)

Behind empty phrases about its "duty of care" and commitment to equal opportunities, the fact is that LU treats sickness punitively. It punishes us for getting ill.

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Mind The Gap

According to stats dug out by a Freedom of Information request, PTI incidents have been increasing at such a rate that there were five times as many in 2014 than in 2003. The number of incidents rose every year between these two.

On what planet is the appropriate response to this to cut station staffing?!

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Drivers Refuse Unsafe Picc Trains

TfL's website claims a "temporary shortage of train operators" has caused a part suspension and severe delays on the Piccadilly line. What it doesn't tell readers is that this is because drivers are refusing to operate trains following a door opening on a train travelling through the tunnel under Heathrow airport.

After yesterday's incident, management could have made strenuous efforts to resolve the problem and verify that the fleet is safe. But no.

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Engineers: Vote Yes for Strikes!

Engineers in the RMT are currently taking part in two strike ballots, both concluding on 28 January.

TubeLines staff are being balloted for strikes over pay. Reps overwhelmingly rejected a settlement (which also covers proposed pay and terms conditions arrangements for the proposed "Night Tube") that was equivalent to the deal offered to LU staff, which unions have also rejected.

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Oblique Images, Obtuse Management Response

On crowded platforms, it can be hard for the train driver to see the "Platform Train Interface", particularly on a curved platform. This is what LUL calls an "oblique image" - where people on the platform block the driver's view of the PTI. We'd call it a blind spot.

There are dozens of these all over the Tube, posing a serious safety risk to passengers. Some of the worst locations have been given additional station staff support from the Special Requirements Team so CSAs on the platform can assist drivers. But this isn't a "special" requirement - it's a permanent one!

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