A concern about regular overtime and fatigue risk leads to a review and monitoring. 

london underground people blurry

Someone told CIRAS that all staff at London Underground’s (LU) Bakerloo control room work overtime regularly to fill roster gaps. 

They said this had led to staff errors and there was a culture of under-reporting. Because of this, people are making mistakes, and not reporting them.

Safeguards are breached, with some people having less than 11 hours rest between shifts. Staff sometimes finish a shift, sleep in a room and then work a further shift.

Managers fill in exceedance forms to explain how the additional risk will be managed, but the forms are treated as a formality. They are even used for gaps known in advance, such as annual leave, not just for exceptional circumstances.

LU said that there were 19 service controllers on the 22-person roster, plus two trainees. Another trainee would arrive soon, along with a service controller returning from maternity leave. Training, planned annual leave, short-term sickness absence and maternity leave – along with vacancies – had resulted in fewer staff rostered. 

LU reviewed use of the exceedance form and identified challenges including upcoming retirement and trainees not passing training, leading to vacancies. It anticipated that the apprenticeship scheme would create suitable candidates to fill roles. 

Management monitors overtime to keep it to a minimum, with mitigation including extra breaks, finishing duties early, and other roles rostered to cover for service controllers. 

In the short-term, LU has asked the team to watch the internal reporting fatigue video, and management to follow the fatigue managers’ guidance and the Fatigue Management Programme SharePoint page. It will monitor the situation to understand timescales for resolving resourcing gaps.

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