Transport for London (TfL) bosses have been told to boost “incomplete” safety measures after a man fell into the curved gap between a Tube platform and a train and was crushed to death.
A new report by Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) into the fatal accident, which took place in May 2020, found that London Underground Limited (LUL), which runs the Tube as part of TfL, should carry out a risk assessment on every tightly curved platform on the network, update its risk modelling and make sure that investigations are followed up properly.
The report comes after an inquiry into the death of Jama Mohamed Warsame, 59, who was travelling home to east London on the morning of May 26 last year, after staying overnight in Lambeth. He got off a Bakerloo line train at Waterloo at 10.10am and fell backwards into the large gap between the curved platform and the train.
Mr Warsame tried to get out for nearly a minute but was unable. There was no one on the platform to help him, and the 1980s CCTV monitoring system the driver used to check for safety problems on the platform did not pick him up. RAIB said that even a more modern monitoring system would have been “unlikely” to capture Mr Warsame.
The train he had been on left the station one minute and fifteen seconds after Mr Warsame fell into the gap, crushing him. He remained still after this and was hit by the next train to arrive, which came about one minute and 25 seconds after the first train left.
Three other passengers were on the platform at some point during the whole incident, but none appear to have seen Mr Warsame or heard any cries for help he may have made. CCTV in Waterloo’s central control room captured the whole incident but staff are not required to be continuously monitoring CCTV and there is no evidence that anyone working in the control room saw the incident, according to RAIB.
Once Mr Warsame had eventually been discovered, police were called and arrived at 10.24, followed by the fire brigade and ambulance service a few minutes later.
RAIB made three recommendations following the death of Mr Warsame. The organisation said that TfL should carry out a risk assessment for tightly curved platforms and “other locations at which passengers are considered to be at particularly high risk”. This should focus on the safety of vulnerable passengers, as well as the gap between the platform and the train, and the ability of the driver to see the gap while preparing to set off.
The report added that TfL should update its risk modelling system to bring it in line with good practice in the rail industry, and improve its management processes to make sure that it responds to formal investigations appropriately.
The transport union RMT, which has many Tube workers as members, hit out at TfL in the wake of the report.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “This [is] a damning report that once again illustrates the importance of maintaining staffing levels on the basis of proper safety and risk assessments that must involve front line staff through their trade union.
“RMT safety reps will be raising this report with [London Underground] in our safety forums and demanding a clear programme of action to deal with the issues it addresses.”
A spokesperson for TfL said: “We extend our deepest sympathies to Mr Warsame’s family and would like to reassure customers that the safety of everyone on our network is always our top priority.
“We have considered the findings of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch’s report and have already started putting the recommended actions in place after carrying out our own internal investigation. We will ensure that we do all we can to prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.”
The purpose of RAIB is only to prevent future accidents and improve safety – not to work out blame or carry out prosecutions.