RAIL union RMT has launched a direct challenge to the safety and standards board over its “conflicting” message on driver-only trains.
A recent public information campaign launched by the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) warned the travelling public of the growing risk of trap-and-drag incidents.
However, the RMT points out that the situation is “clearly worsened” by plans by a number of franchises to ditch safety-critical train guards.
The rail union is calling on the RSSB to “fundamentally review its conflicted position” on driver-only operation (DOO) and its danger to passengers.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash, in a letter to the RSSB, said: “I am aware of RSSB’s press release detailing research on passenger perceptions of door alarms and the risks that are associated with incidents of this type including the most severe instances of trap-and-drag.
“As you will know, RMT has particular concerns around these events in our current campaign to retain a second safety-critical worker on board trains.”
Mr Cash accused RSSB bosses of “washing your hands of the problem” by asking passengers to change their behaviour rather than ensuring enough staff are in place to control the risks.
He added: “RMT believes that there should be a fundamental reassessment of the issue related to DOO dispatch which should look to incorporate actions of suitably trained and qualified personnel on both trains and stations.
“Inaction in this matter on industry’s part will be to conclude it is because RSSB are funded by the employers.”
RSSB could not be reached at the time of going to press.