May 2010 in London Underground
A reporter has contacted CIRAS with concerns about staff feeling unable to report accidents or incidents at work through fear of losing their jobs.
Although specific details cannot be fed back due to confidentiality reasons, the reporter cites incidents occurring when the Site Person in Charge (SPC) or another manager has not recorded in accident logbooks as required. Although staff are advised to report any incident that occurs on site, the issues have been dismissed and not followed up by management.
When these matters have been pursued by staff, management have apparently made staff feel victimised. This has resulted in staff fearing they would lose their job if any further safety concerns are brought up; this is particularly the case when staff have been recruited via an agency.
Another issue the reporter would like to highlight is the communication barrier between staff caused by the poor understanding of English. The reporter is aware of some staff being unable to read, write or speak English at a proficient level. For instance, this has resulted in staff continuing to work despite being told that they were in an emergency situation.
Could Tube Lines provide comments on the above issues and also address the following:
Being safe is one of Tube Lines core values. Health and Safety Focus weeks and interactive sessions are held with our work teams where they are encouraged to raise health and safety concerns so that they can be addressed. We also have in place a structured health and safety committee where staff representatives and managers meet to discuss health and safety issues and agree remedial actions. Incident reporting is encouraged across the company.
Also all reported incidents are monitored and analysed at the highest level in the company and at the weekly executive meeting. Apart from this weekly monitoring a series of campaigns and tool box talks have been used to encourage reporting of all incidents. Tube Lines is not aware of any incidents as raised by the reporter however a business wide alert will be created and issued in the next few weeks to reinforce the message.
It is mandatory for all staff or contractors working for Tube Lines to attend and pass a Tube Lines Health, Safety and Environment induction course lasting half a day. The course is delivered in English and there is an assessment test at the end. The trainers are requested to be alert to any attendees who's first language is not English, and to raise any concerns directly with the Training Manager. The Cat 1. LUL QUENSH Standard that all contractors have to comply with stipulates that all safety critical staff need to be able to communicate in English to a given standard. A training package to advance safety critical communications competence is currently being developed by Tube Lines in partnership with LUL.