RAIB Urgent Safety Advice (USA) Hayes and Harlington

Our Ref: HSR/2/22
Head Office Circular: NP/243/15
4th December 2015

The Secretary

Dear Colleague



Please find attached a copy of a USA issued by RAIB in respect of an incident at Hayes and Harlington station on 25th July 2015 in which a passenger attempting to board a First Great Western service, had her hand trapped in the door and was subsequently dragged 8-10 metres along the platform. When she tripped and fell her hand was pulled free. The service was in operation as DOO(P).

The views of RMT are clear: We are completely opposed to Driver Only Operation and its forms, including Driver Controlled Operation (DCO) / Drive Door Operation (DDO), throughout the network. We firmly believe this method of operation is less safe for passengers and the workforce and our union will not agree to the extension of DOO or DCO /DDO under any circumstances.

However RAIB believe there is a common misconception amongst train drivers that it is not possible to obtain door interlock and for a train to depart if a persons hand or other object of a similar size is trapped in the door of a train. In fact the standard for door interlocking is 25-30 mm wide.

RAIB’s advice is that train drivers responsible for the dispatch of their trains must perform a thorough final safety check after the door interlock light has been obtained  and should not place sole reliance on the illumination of the door interlock light. If, having performed such a check, they are still not satisfied that it is safe to move the train, they should implement company procedures for dealing with such a situation.

RAIB adjusted their advice in the USA after consulting RMT on its contents. However RMT have argued that the advice contained in the USA does not go far enough.

The CCTV pictures reproduced in the USA are of relatively good level but there is much variation in quality of CCTV available to drivers to see the real situation behind them. Even with the relatively good quality pictures in this incident it would be very hard to distinguish between a person trapped as opposed to a person banging on the window to be let in to the train after the doors have closed, or shaking their fist at the door in frustration for missing their train.

RMT believe that if there is any doubt when performing pre-departure safety checks that it is safe to dispatch the train then drivers should perform a visual check and not rely solely on CCTV, stepping out onto the platform if necessary.

Please bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all relevant members.

Yours sincerely
Mick Cash
General Secretary