Union says Underground RAIB report is ‘damning’
A fatal accident on a curved tube platform has been described by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch as highlighting inadequate risk assessment on the part of London Underground. At about 10.10 on 26 May last year, a passenger on the northbound Bakerloo Line platform at Waterloo fell into the gap between the sharply curved platform and the train from which he had just alighted. The passenger was unable to free himself and the train departed when he was still trapped, crushing him as it moved off. He remained motionless and was then hit by the following train. The RAIB said the accident occurred when there were no staff or passengers nearby who might have been able to help.
Train despatch on the Bakerloo Line platforms at Waterloo was undertaken by the train operator using CCTV to view the side of the train. With only his head and arm above platform level, the passenger was difficult to detect on the despatch monitors, while the operator of the following train was unaware of the passenger because attention was focused on bringing the train to a stand at the right place. The investigation found that London Underground’s risk assessment processes did not enable the identification and detailed assessment of all the factors. Although London Underground had introduced some mitigation measures it had not fully quantified the risk of curved platforms. The investigation also found that the model used to quantify system risk makes no allowance for non-fatal injuries, and so understates the risk of harm to passengers. The RAIB has made three recommendations.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘This is a damning report that once again illustrates the importance of maintaining staffing levels on the basis of proper safety and risk assessments that must involve front line staff through their trade union. RMT safety reps will be raising this report with LU in our safety forums and demanding a clear programme of action to deal with the issues it addresses.’