Track Worker Injured by Train near Chalfont & Latimer Station: RAIB Report Highlights Safety Concerns
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) has published its findings on an incident where a track worker was struck by a train near Chalfont & Latimer station in Buckinghamshire on April 15, 2022. At approximately 09:28 on that day, a London Underground passenger train, traveling at around 25 mph (40 km/h), collided with a track worker who was part of a planned patrol on the Metropolitan line. The worker, serving as the second lookout in a group of three, had been hired from a recruitment agency for the day. The patrol was scheduled during regular train service hours.
The accident occurred because the track worker left a safe area and entered the path of the approaching train to get a better view of the track ahead, not realizing the imminent danger. The worker was walking with her back to the train when she was struck and injured.
RAIB’s investigation revealed that the track worker was not familiar with the exact location of the accident and the safety briefings provided to her on the day were inadequate in equipping her with the necessary information for a safe working environment.
The report identified two main factors contributing to the accident. Firstly, London Underground’s procedures for managing track worker safety during regular train service hours were insufficient in controlling the risks. Secondly, certain aspects of London Underground’s organizational culture did not support effective track worker safety management.
It is worth noting that some designated safe areas along the Metropolitan line were occasionally obstructed, preventing their use as intended. However, the post-accident communications among the involved parties were effective, allowing for an accurate understanding of the information exchanged.
RAIB has made four recommendations, all directed at London Underground Limited. These recommendations include reviewing risk assessment and control measures during regular train service hours, evaluating the necessity of conducting track work during these hours, improving safety assurance processes and reporting, and ensuring that designated safe areas are fit for their intended purpose.
In addition, the report emphasizes two key points. Firstly, the importance of clear and effective safety briefings for track workers, and secondly, the significance of effective communication during emergency situations.
Andrew Hall, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents, emphasized the ongoing priority of track worker safety. He highlighted the need for comprehensive planning, clear safety procedures, effective leadership, site discipline, and thorough briefings to minimize the risk of track workers encountering trains.
RAIB’s investigations aim to prevent future accidents and enhance railway safety. They do not assign blame or liability or initiate prosecutions.