27 March 2023
RMT Press Office:
RMT today launched a joint health and safety data initiative with the University of Portsmouth, the National Railway Museum (NRM) and the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick (MRC).
The data provides a fascinating insight into the past health and safety experiences of RMT members, including risk posed by their jobs and any accidents they were involved in.
Around 25,000 records from the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants (ASRS) and National Union of Railwaymen (NUR) – the predecessor unions of the RMT - will be released.
Speaking ahead of the launch at Unity House in London, RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This project is an important opportunity for RMT members and the wider public to learn about their rail history.
"RMT industrial disputes this year have been about maintaining rail safety practices and we will not allow standards to slip.
"Recent train crashes in the US and Greece show the impact on health and safety of cutting jobs and maintenance.
"We are committed as a union to keeping our members and passengers safe on our railways."
The RWL&D project is a joint initiative between the University of Portsmouth, the National Railway Museum (NRM) and the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick (MRC), also working with other institutions including The National Archives of the UK and the RMT. RWL&D aims to make it easier to find out about railway worker accidents in Britain and Ireland from the late 1880s to 1920 by providing data about who was involved, what they were doing on the railways, what happened to them and why.
The project has been led by Dr. Mike Esbester (University of Portsmouth) who has worked with volunteers to transcribe the data they have discovered via a number of routes: compensation (deaths & injuries), disablement support, death claims, representation at inquests, and payments made to support dependent children (via the orphan fund).
The data provided a fascinating inside into the past health and safety experiences of RMT members. As well as the risks of their jobs, you can get a better impression of the individuals involved from the data. And there are all sorts of interesting details - a quick search shows that the records include, for example, the third person to be allocated a membership number, driver R Morris of the Taff Vale Railway, having joined the Union in July 1872.