Sweeping And Shovelling Platforms Clear Of Snow And Ice In Adverse Weather Conditions

Tube staff work hard
keeping platforms safe

RMT position regarding station staff sweeping and shovelling platforms clear of snow and Ice in adverse weather conditions.

First agreed 12th December 2011

Industrial Side

It is not station staff’s job to undertake this duty.

It states in Rule Book 11 7.6 what the Station Supervisors responsibilities are when snow is forecast.
7.6 Dealing with wet conditions and snow at stations
When snow is forecast, you must follow your local instructions and check the station premises.
You must make sure cleaning staff are aware and any equipment needed is available.

During and after a snow fall or when dealing with wet conditions, you must:

Station supervisor

  • Keep floors and platforms clear from a build up of snow or water
  • Tell customers to take extra care when on or about the station
  • Place notice boards advising customers to take extra care as surfaces might be slippery
  • Use cleaning staff where available.

A Station Supervisor is responsible for the operation of the station areas; if something becomes defective then they report it via report centre. If platforms or station areas need to have snow, vomit or any other unacceptable substance that our customers or nature decide to dump on our stations then that should be reported and a job number obtained.

It is implicit in the Rule Book that cleaning staff have the job of clearing station areas and this is reflected in it with the sentence ‘You must make sure cleaning staff are made aware of what equipment is needed and available’. It is no coincidence that this sentence is provided in the section concerned and is directly before the bullet points (above), as one is linked to the other.

Health & Safety Side

There has been no workplace risk assessment undertaken into station staff clearing, sweeping and shovelling snow or laying de-icing materials onto station platforms.
There is an obligation under Health & Safety law for suitable and sufficient risk assessments to be carried out relating to every work activity that staff would be expected to perform. This has not happened as far as we are aware.

WE are also not aware of any manual handling training, or arrangements for protection in place.
Local Health & Safety Representatives

Please note that we would advise local safety reps against taking part in any risk assessments into this activity at this time as it has not been agreed as a working practice as far as we are aware.
We believe that undertaking this duty whilst the train service is running is inherently unsafe and does not meet the ALARP principle;

The majority of station staff have received no agreed formal training to undertake this activity, including working with hazardous materials and manual handling, plus there is no agreed staff PPE on stations.
If a platform or any other areas of station buildings become unsafe for customers or staff to access then that area should be taken out of use. If that means platforms and stations closing then that should be the case until it is deemed fit for use.

A recent Employment Tribunal (ET) involving a train operator on LU found that, as with the Captain of a ship or the Pilot of a Plane, the Train Operator was ultimately in charge of his train and the customers on it. The particular train operator was found to be 25% culpable and at fault in this case in relation to an unsafe operational procedure that he was allowed and authorised to do, even though he won the ET.
It logically follows that a Station Supervisor is in charge of the station and the people on it and would be found at least partly culpable for any incidents and/or accidents on their stations.
Please keep this in mind.

If any members have any concerns you are advised to contact your local Level 1 Level 2 or Tier 1 Tier 2 representatives.

The original document is attached.

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