Risk for night-time lone workers at Hither Green and Woolwich Arsenal addressed.

Woolwich Arsenal station

Above: Woolwich Arsenal station

Reporter's concern

  • Over two years there have been staff assaults and antisocial behaviour at these railway stations. Measures to protect staff are ineffective, said the reporter.
  • Staff have body-worn cameras, radios, and are advised to follow policy not to intervene and to retreat to the station office – the designated place of safety – during incidents. But the policy isn’t practical and can cause staff stress.
  • The offices are not secure enough and there have been staff assaults there.
  • Not helping when passengers need it can distress staff, who want to help and feel morally it isn’t right to be an observer to an incident.
  • Lone working staff are advised to call in when help is needed, but this may not be physically possible during an altercation. Help from the nearest station can be 30 minutes away.
  • Southeastern has no procedure for checking in on lone working staff.
  • Continued lone working at these locations could lead to further assaults on staff.

They wanted Southeastern to have two members of staff during night shifts, and to highlight these stations as hotspots to British Transport Police (BTP) for a strong police presence. 

Southeastern's response

  • Collaboratively, Southeastern colleagues, local area/station managers, health and safety representatives and the BTP designing out crime officer reviewed the lone working risk assessment, existing controls’ effectiveness, and the reality of the situation in stations.
  • The lone working risk assessment had been completed 24 days before this report, but had not been shared, so following the CIRAS report it was redone with additional controls.
  • The extra controls are:
    • risk assessments communicated to staff
    • station manager consulting with the passenger service coordinators (PSC) or head of information delivery to provide hourly calls to report on welfare from the PSC (at lone working staffed stations)
    • repositioning of CCTV around platform one at Woolwich Arsenal – to be completed during the CCTV refresh with Network Rail
    • personal attack alarms provided at these stations
    • conflict management training refreshers offered – on Southeastern learning space
    • remote monitoring by hub station staff by telephone or in person, to provide staff with support.
  • Serious consideration is being given to additional staff, agency or permanent, to assist lone workers, due to the high levels of workplace violence (WPV) and crime rates in the area.

View the full report at ciras.org.uk/Resources-and-Learning/Reports/Report/03294.

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