Concern

A reporter has raised a concern regarding the safety reporting culture within the customer service assistance team for North East Metro Operations Limited (NEMOL). 

It is believed that employees are unaware of how to report health and safety issues internally. 

Concern has been expressed that this could potentially lead to issues going unreported.
It is also felt that once a concern has been raised, issues are not being adequately investigated and staff are not provided with any feedback.

An example of fire doors coming off their hinges and falling on employees and injuring them is given.

This was apparently reported multiple times before any action was taken. As a result of the above points raised, the reporter expresses concern that the reporting culture is creating an unpleasant and disengaging working environment, potentially impacting on employee wellbeing.

There is a concern that, if health and safety issues are not reported or addressed, operational safety could be affected.

Therefore, the reporter asks if NEMOL could ensure:

  • All customer service employees are aware of where to report health and safety concerns?
  • Employees receive feedback after reporting a concern?
  • Concerns are fully investigated when reported through internal reporting channels?

NEMOL's response

NEMOL take Health and Safety very seriously and always strive to make our staff comfortable and informed in the work environment.

Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to investigate the concerns raised and provide a detailed response.

With regards to the fire doors, there were two separate instances of doors coming off hinges when opened. These happened at different locations and were months apart. 

As hinge failures could not be identified via visual checks, engineering support was sought which recommended a complete renewal of all hinge systems to these doors throughout all Metro Stations (over 100 doors).

The door repair plan was complete by mid-December 2018.

On each occasion, repairs were instigated, and information was communicated either via: Health and Safety representatives, notices to staff, face-to-face briefings, emails or all of the above.

Actions taken as a result of this report:
The various methods of communicating health and safety concerns will be reiterated to all staff. The Station Delivery Manager will also be reintroducing staff forums where staff can attend and ask questions about any work-related topic they like in a safe environment.

     

© NEMOL, ‘Report My Abuse’ email system (left), Service Quality app (right)

How staff can report their health and safety concerns

For infrastructure issues identified:

  • Via Service Quality (SQ) app each member of Customer Service staff has access to on their hand-held mobile phones (safety related issues are then input into Compass/Maximo for work orders to be created via SQ team).
  • Verbally with Customer Service Controller (safety related incidents are then input into Compass/Maximo).
  • Verbally/electronically with Duty Customer Service Manager/Customer Service Supervisor (safety related incidents are then manually requested to be input into Compass/Maximo with CS controller).
  • Verbally/electronically with union Health & Safety representatives.

For staff related incidents e.g. (assaults/accidents)

  • Report My Abuse email system (for low level verbal abuse staff can use this reporting mechanism). Verbally with Customer Service Controller (controlled by staff member reporting i.e the staff need to report/request Police).
  • Verbally/electronically with Duty Customer Service Manager/Customer Service Supervisor.
  • Verbally/electronically with union Health & Safety representatives.

There is a Health and Safety Sectional Committee which takes place on a quarterly basis where any staff safety concerns can be raised. Notes and outcomes of this meeting can then be shared by the union Health and Safety representatives to staff. If staff feel that health and safety concerns raised at the Committee aren’t being dealt with effectively, those matters can then be escalated further to the Safety Improvement Forum which is chaired by the Metro Services Director.