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Health and safety legislation

Below you will find some questions that are frequently asked by members in relation to Health and Safety matters.


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As a member how should I progress health and safety issues?

Circular No. 463/1999, (Ref:G/60/Ladbroke Grove) dated 13 October 1999, was sent to Branches, Representatives and Health & Safety Representatives. It was to be permanently posted in notice cases.

The advice to members was as follows:

  • Raise with management the concern verbally, then in writing.
  • Keep a copy for yourself and give one to your Safety Rep.
  • Follow up with management and your Safety Rep what action is being taken to remedy the situation.
  • If you are not satisfied with the response, or if your Health & Safety Rep is not satisfied with the response from management, then the matter can be raised by your Safety Rep, with your District Organiser, and at the next stage of the machinery: the Company Joint Safety Committee

I have a safety issue that I want to raise, but I don't trust my local managers - what should I do?

The Confidential Incident Reporting & Analysis System for the UK Railway Industry, CIRAS is an alternative way for rail industry staff to report safety concerns that they feel unable to report through company safety channels. It is a completely independent and confidential way to report safety concerns without fear of recrimination.

All Railway Member Companies, including Train and Freight Operating Companies, Network Rail, contractors and LUL are enrolled in the system so it is available to all safety critical and safety related rail personnel.

Remember that you should always report any incident or concern to your H&S rep.

What is ASLEF and industry doing about violence to staff?

If all else fails we can tackle it industrially, as was the case with problems on the east end of the District Line, LUL. The threat of industrial action saw a more urgent approach taken by the employer and the police.

Nationally, for the industry, RSSB has established the Rail Personal Security Group.

The group is addressing such issues as:

  • Getting all companies to adopt the same definitions for assault
  • Encouraging staff to report all instances of assault and abuse
  • Raising awareness of railway bye-laws on assault and anti-social behaviour, and
  • Sharing experiences on the success of countermeasures to deal with assaults on staff and passengers.

The group has published a good practice guide Staff Assault, for use by managers in the rail industry, if their staff suffer instances of abuse or threatening behaviour.

What are the medical standards for Train Drivers?

These can be found on the RSSB website in Rail Industry Standard for Train Driver Selection, RIS-3751-TOM.

ASLEF members may potentially be involved in a number of traumas in their course of their working lives. These may include being verbally or physically assaulted, being in a train crash, seeing a person die as a result of suicide or accident, and may occur while a member is driving the train.

Further, members may suffer loss after the death or injury of a work colleague, especially following a major incident such as Ladbroke Grove.

ASLEF has produced a leaflet which gives practical advice on how Branch Secretaries and Representatives can assist members in coping with trauma and loss.

Why do Drivers have SPADs, and what is being done about it?

Signals Passed At Danger (SPADs) by train drivers are a problem which, although decreasing in number, persists within the rail industry. OPSWEB is the website of the rail industry's Operations Focus Group (OFG), the industry's body charged with leading the drive to reduce operational risk on the UK rail network. OPSWEB is the successor to SPADWEB which targeted SPAD risk. Their site has been broadened to cover the wider range of operational risk, providing more information on other issues, and not those solely connected with SPADS. You will find descriptions of what particular operation risks are, some of the reasons why they occur and what the rail industry is doing to prevent them at their website

What is the policy about driving past uncovered bodies on the line?

ASLEF policy is that no Drivers should be forced to drive past an uncovered body. The Rule Book - Managing accidents GE/RT8000 - M5 Rule Book Module M5, paragraph 4.5, authorises the signaller to allow a train to pass recognisable body parts, but only if:

• you tell the driver of each train about the circumstances

• the driver of each train agrees to making the movement.

You must not attempt unreasonably to influence a driver to make such a movement.

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