Despite Health and Safety representative’s objections from multiple grades, London Underground is introducing a new HOT protocol on London Underground from 3rd December.
This protocol states you must not deem an item as lost property until it has been examined. Further, the protocol also states that you must examine and delve into the item (even forcing open a locked suitcase for example) if you deem it to be ‘non-suspicious’.
We believe that this is ‘smoke and mirrors’ and is pushing staff to examine
items for the benefit of the service rather than the safety of LU staff. Of course if you believe an item is lost property you should hand it over to station staff but ASLEF’s advice is that if you believe an item is suspicious you should inform control so that an evacuation of the area can be arranged and remove yourself to a place of safety.
You should not be pressured to delve into or break open any bags or suitcases, potentially placing your safety and the safety of others around you at risk if you believe it is unsafe to do so.
The LU guidance leaflet accompanying the new HOT protocol states:
if you are not confident opening the item to examine its contents, then immediately seek advice from your customer service supervisor/ manager or a more experienced colleague.
If at any time there is an attempt to pressurise you into opening a bag, please refer to the advice above and contact your local H&S rep immediately.