Our ref: HSR/1/12
Head Office Circular: NP/11/21
11th January 2021
To: The Secretary
NETWORK RAIL – NOISY AIR VENT FANS AT NEW ST STATION BIRMINGHAM
The following resolution was received from your South West Midlands Branch:
With regards to the above mentioned, the South West Midlands Branch passed the following Resolution at Branch meeting on 06th December 2020.
This Branch is concerned that the fans on Birmingham New St station which are meant to be protecting our members from diesel pollution are in fact damaging our members hearing. During the cold weather these fans are so powerful they are also causing a freezing wind to blow up the platforms. The fans are very noisy causing the station staff & signalling staff great difficulty in hearing safety critical messages. Our members believe that, often the noise from fans, announcing and trains is well over the legal required limit, the ear defenders given to staff often make it difficult to hear phone messages & speak to passengers, so end up being removed at the time when they are needed.
We also believe a high number of the long serving staff are having to use hearing aids due to long term damage at Birmingham New St. RMT representatives from Health & Safety & Industrial have tried for years to rectify this problem all Network Rail respond with that the fans will be replaced sometime in future.
We ask our General Secretary for the following actions to be taken
• Investigate through our legal team to see if there is a case for compensation.
• Open talks with Network Rail to resolve this dangerous issue as soon as possible.
• Ballot for industry Action with the Dispatch team in order to show solidarity with the team who have endured this issue for over 6 years.
On 7th January your NEC noted and adopted the following report of its Health and Safety Sub Committee:
We note the resolution from South West Midlands Branch.
The General Secretary is instructed to arrange a meeting between Network Rail and the Assistant General Secretary as a matter of urgency and report back to this NEC.
Branches and Regional Councils to be advised.
I am acting in accordance with these instructions.
Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of relevant members.