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In the news: Lone train driver attacked

A tube driver was attacked in the UK last month after fighting passengers forced their way into her cab.

The driver was driving a train between King’s Cross and Angel station late in the evening when the two men screamed at her and blocked her from closing the driver’s door.

The driver was left badly shaken by the incident but luckily did not suffer any serious physical injuries.

The two men involved in the incident were arrested for affray but have since been released under investigation.

Targeting lone working drivers

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated incident. In 2017, there was a call for greater security after a London night tube driver was attacked by a gang of graffiti vandals while returning the train to its depot.

The driver was responding to an automatic alarm which indicated that the rear cab door had been opened. As he went to investigate, the men sprayed him with paint, tripped and kicked him before stealing his radio.

The attack is said to be the latest in a series of incidents involving drivers returning trains to depots while working alone.

Even for drivers working during the day and peak hours, aggression from customers is not uncommon. Many drivers are hauled with insults and abuse for closing the doors too quickly or for delays to a service. While it may be harder to physically attack a train driver during busy hours, the effect of verbal abuse can still be long lasting and detrimental to individuals health and wellbeing.

Managing risk

In cases like the ones discussed above, defending oneself can be difficult as attacks are very often unpredictable. Yet there are some measures that can be put in place to equip your lone workers with a way to handle a violent situation.

  • Training

Any lone workers operating in environments with the potential of violence and aggression should be given training on diffusing a situation and handling aggression.

  • Panic button

Panic buttons should also be provided if the risk of aggression has been identified as part of your risk assessment. StaySafe provides several panic methods via a mobile app and optional wearable technology.

  • Access to mental health resources

For lone workers who regularly face verbal or physical abuse as part of their job, you may want to consider providing a support service such as counselling or at least resources that employees are able to access themselves. Mental wellbeing is just as important as health and safety and can have a detrimental effect on physical health, happiness and productivity if left unaddressed.


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