Track worker hit by Metropolitan Line Tube near Chalfont and Latimer station
A track worker was hit by a rush hour Metropolitan lineTube suffering head and body injuries, a report on Monday revealed.
The worker was hit while she was carrying out inspections on April 15 last year near Chalfont and Latimer station at around 9.30am.
A probe by the independent Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) criticised the London Underground, saying “elements” of its organisational culture “did not support effective management of track worker safety”.
The investigation found the worker, who was recruited by an agency, was not familiar with the location and that safety briefings on the day were not adequate.
The employee moved from a place of safety and into the approaching train’s path to get a better view of the track ahead, just as the train was about to pass her.
She was walking with her back to the train when she was hit at 27 mph because she did not realise the line she was next to could have trains approaching from either direction.
The worker was released from hospital later the same day but “has continued to suffer from the effects of the accident”.
Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents Andrew Hall said: “This accident is an alarming reminder that there is still work to be done to reduce the likelihood of track workers coming into contact with trains on parts of the railway.
“It cannot be acceptable that any member of staff be working on open lines with insufficient awareness of the direction a train might approach from.”
Inspectors said agency workers often felt they could not challenge Underground staff because of a “power differential”.
They also raised concerns that some designated places of safety on the Metropolitan line are sometimes obstructed, meaning they cannot be used. However, this was not a factor in the accident.
TfL has now been told that it should look to “minimise” the amount of times staff carry out inspections on the track during traffic hours.
Lilli Matson, Chief Safety Health and Environment Officer at TfL said: “Safety will always be our top priority so we were extremely concerned when a railway worker was struck by a Metropolitan line train while inspecting track near Chalfont & Latimer station.
“While thankfully their injuries were limited, it would have been a highly upsetting experience and our thoughts remain with them.
“As normal with an incident on the railway, we immediately informed the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), in addition to undertaking our own investigation.
“We will now consider the findings of the RAIB’s report and have already put a number of actions in place to ensure this type of incident does not occur again.”