CAMPAIGNS: LUL gets safety back on track - Internal Communications

Each year, on average, one worker is killed working on London Underground’s (LUL) track. In 1994, after two men died within a month, an internal enquiry found that the risk to trackside staff was approaching levels described as ’intolerable’ by the Health and Safety Executive. With the increasing use of contractors, LUL realised that it needed to rethink its safety training.

Each year, on average, one worker is killed working on London

Underground’s (LUL) track. In 1994, after two men died within a month,

an internal enquiry found that the risk to trackside staff was

approaching levels described as ’intolerable’ by the Health and Safety

Executive. With the increasing use of contractors, LUL realised that it

needed to rethink its safety training.



The company was keen to use video in this campaign. So, in January 1996,

it appointed the informal partnership of Flag Communications, internal

communications and design specialists and TV and video company World

Productions.



Objectives



To reduce the number of notifiable incidents by revitalising safety

training.



Tactics



Flag and World spent the first eight weeks of 1996 speaking to staff and

contractors, going out on site, sitting in drivers’ cabs and attending

safety training courses.



They concluded that a visually branded communications campaign was

needed to pull together the differing elements of changes in safety

training.



For the track workers with shovels, they wanted to substitute the old

simplistic approach of ’Don’t do this, you might hurt yourself’ with the

question ’If you hurt yourself, how will it affect your family, friends

and colleagues?’



For management, the emphasis was placed on the financial costs of

accidents, which range from the expense of lengthy post-incident

enquiries to compensation and traumatised staff sat at home on sickness

pay.



Throughout the year, the Flag team revised training methods to

incorporate audience participation, team exercises and discussions. From

May, a series of posters highlighting the three main dangers when

working on the track - electrocution, tripping over and being struck by

a train - were put up in mess rooms.



Weatherproof checklists on how to conduct a safety check and safety

handbooks were produced for all levels of staff, including

contractors.



In conjunction, World Productions made a series of complementary

training videos, and a master video called ’It’ll never happen’. From

June, through a cascade process, this video reconstructing real

accidents, was seen by every worker on the track.



Results



LUL is reluctant to tempt fate by quoting figures, but says the number

of incidents has dropped ’significantly’.



Moreover, what the company has saved on improved safety, has more than

covered the cost of the campaign. In 1994, accidents cost the company

pounds 3.5 million a year, by 1996 this had dropped by pounds 2

million.



Verdict



According to Glenda Braybrook, LUL corporate relations executive, the

company is very happy with its rejuvenated safety training

provision.



She says the potential for bad accidents has decreased as workers are

now less ’blase and macho’ regarding their own safety and take less

stupid risks.



However, LUL is a very insular organisation, so Flag and World had to

work hard to win workers over. Braybrook says ’Many staff have worked on

the track for years and take the attitude ’been there, seen it, done

it’.’ She says her company was delighted with the way Flag and World

’got their hands dirty’.



Client: London Underground Ltd

PR Team: Flag Communications and World Productions

Campaign: The Safer Way

Timescale: 1996

Cost: pounds 600,000



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