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  • Writer's pictureFinn Brennan ASLEF Distri

London Underground Covid-19 Risk Assessments

Updated: May 17, 2020

On Friday senior ASLEF Health and Safety reps and officials held meetings with senior London Underground management to discuss H&S issues around the upcoming ramp up of train services from Monday. Below is a list of issues concerning risk assessments that ASLEF raised at these meetings.

Our view is that London Underground is simply not ready to ramp up the service and is facing severe external pressure to do so. ASLEF requested that London Underground delay the ramp up of the service for a week to enable further work to take place, however it seems clear that London Underground intend to press ahead.

The ASLEF circular advising members on their right to refuse to work on Health and Safety grounds is here.

223 LU Pre Covid Duty Schedules Advice
Download P • 246KB

A F.A.Q for members is here.

Download PDF • 166KB

The TfL Refusal to Work on the grounds of Health and Safety procedure is here.

Refusal to Work on Grounds of H&S S5547
Download • 167KB

  • We have asked on a number of occasions for train specific risk assessments to be carried out in relations to the hazards presented by Covid-19.

  • The first specific risk assessment for train operators were only sent to us yesterday, Thursday 14th May, in relation to the planned increase in train services on Monday.

  • Presenting a risk assessment to us on Thursday for a start up of a full train service across LU on Monday is a completely unrealistic time scale to go through all the potential hazards and put in place control measures

  • LU should look at realistic 'worse case' scenarios that they could 'reasonably foresee', but the content of their 'supplementary risk assessment' clearly indicates that LU haven't done that.

  • LU has accepted in principle that they should conduct these more detailed risk assessments as they have carried out an assessment for rear cab travel for maintenance staff - without conducting a similar risk assessment for train operators.

  • LU has not assessed the hazard presented to drivers when they carry out tasks where social distancing may be unable to be maintained - this hazard is foreseeable. Examples of this are fixing defects on the train, or having to walk back through a heavily loaded train when use of the platform is not possible

  • LU have included in their mitigation 'train operators have been supplied with face masks' but this is not a control measure as, as LU have confirmed, they do not offer protection to the wearer, but only to other people from the wearer. Therefore they would not be suitable protection for circumstances where a train operator would be required to undertake tasks where social distancing was not possible. In this case the only suitable protection to control the hazard would be face visors or the like.

  • London Underground have not addressed these scenarios and the accompanying hazards, therefore our view is that we do not believe that the risk assessment presented to us is either suitable or sufficient for the purposes of controlling risks to our members.​

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