Better Driving Cabs
The health and safety of members is clearly one of the key priorities for a trade union, and ASLEF is no different. What perhaps sets us aside is the fact that, as train drivers, our members’ health and safety is inherently linked with the health and safety of thousands of others.
ASLEF therefore believes that it is in the interest of our trade union, our industry and of parliamentarians to ensure that our members’ working conditions are up to standard. Our health and safety is your health and safety.
Unfortunately, too often, our members are forced to work in cabs that are too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter and poorly designed in terms of ergonomics. This can have a detrimental effect on their ability to safely go about their job.
To gauge how widespread this problem is, and work out what the key issues are, we surveyed our members. Just over a thousand drivers replied.
Following this survey we published a report of the findings and we are campaigning within the industry for better driving cabs.
ASLEF has been working behind the scenes with the TUC and other unions on the important issue of workplace temperature.
There is not currently a legal maximum workplace temperature.
As part of this campaign, the TUC has launched a petition calling for a change in the law to make sure employers have to take action when it's too hot so that workers don't suffer the effects of overheating.
A good quality cab should have:
- Suitable cab temperature controlled by driver
- Ergonomically designed adjustable seats
- Free from any excessive noise
- Intuitive desk layout with controls within reach
- Safe and secure providing adequate protection
We are also campaigning with the TUC and fellow trades unions for a change to the law on workplace temperatures, so that environments like train driving cabs are not exempt from regulations.
Members of Parliament have signed an Early Day Motion in support of the Better Driving Cabs campaign and calling for the government to improve the laws about maximum and minimum workplace temperatures.
The full text of the motion reads:
That this House notes with concern the Better Driving Cabs report published by the train drivers’ union, Aslef, which highlights the health and safety concerns of excessively hot and cold temperatures, including findings such as 85 per cent of drivers saying that their cabs have been too hot in the past two years and 72 per cent of respondents having experienced cabs that were too hot for most of their working week in warmer seasons; further notes that, when asked if exposure to hot or cold temperatures had caused harmful effects, 50 per cent of those responding said that it had, with the vast majority experiencing reduced concentration or distraction; believes that excessively hot or cold temperatures affects many workers in a range of industries and calls on the Government to work with unions to implement maximum workplace temperature legislation and a temperature at which mitigation must be introduced to try to prevent harmful effects.
Health & Safety rep Khalid Rana demonstrating a driving cab that ASLEF reps helped to design.
ASLEF reps, district organisers, and members work hard every day to improve driving conditions for our members. The campaign for better driving cabs is no exception.
High-quality, safe and suitable driving cabs are part of the ongoing negotiations with every company where ASLEF is recognised, and there has been a lot of work by officers, Company Councils and Health & Safety reps to bring about the changes we need to see.
Where new cabs are being built, ASLEF has worked alongside companies and engineers to ensure that the design is the best quality possible, and we continuously campaign that where stock is retrofitted, the driving cabs must also be updated. We refused to approve driving cabs into service unless they are suitable.