This Channel 4 documentary may sound like a Carry On film, but it’s anything but funny, as you’ll see if you tune in tonight – Thursday, February 2nd – at 10pm.
In Confessions from the Underground, we’ll hear some alarming facts from members of staff who claim there’s a “fingers crossed” attitude to health and safety in the network of Tube stations and tunnels.
We’ll also hear that if someone dies underground, the bodies are sometimes stored in cleaning cupboards – given there’s nowhere else to put them – until the undertakers arrive.
Around 50 people attempt suicide on the London Underground system every year, and we’ll hear one member of staff saying, “As far as I understand it, London Ambulance services have limited resources and a few years back, they stopped taking anybody who’s deceased into their ambulances back to hospitals…
“Sometimes there’s a delay, it might be half an hour, maybe even two hours and then we’re left with a body on the platform and disturbingly for us, we have to find a place to put a body.
“Unfortunately, we had to use, at Stratford, a bin store outside in the car park, you know the big, massive, industrial bins.
“Putting someone’s body in there, not in the bin, in with the bins, it’s not really respectful.
“However, do I keep the station shut until the coroner and his guys gets there and inconvenience the rest of London?”
A London Underground spokesperson said, “Following agreed procedures, a body may be moved to a secure room within the station to await collection by undertakers.
“We believe our staff do a fantastic job in responding to such difficult circumstances and they are offered counselling support, if necessary.”
We’ll also hear that working in the Underground can be a thankless task, and even a physically dangerous one, as threats of violence against staff have risen by an alarming 44% since last year.
Channel 4’s press realase about tonight’s film adds, “Frontline staff say they are feeling increasingly vulnerable to abuse and attacks by members of the public as a result of reduction to staffing levels.”
Of the dangers they face, one member of staff says, “There was this one time, when it was just me and this other guy, two members of staff trying to deal with 5,000 passengers, all trying to get through this one particular gate line.
“And you’re under pressure you know to keep the station open.
“I think my ultimate fear is that there’s gonna be too many people down on the platform and I’m gonna be sat in front of a judge and he’s gonna be saying, how come you let so many people go down there?
“Something will happen. It’ll be a crush incident, that’s my prediction.
“It’s a fingers crossed attitude. We’re just running on good luck.”
Even though I don’t – and for all the above reasons, never would – use the Tube, I’ll be watching this film. You can also join in the Twitter conversation using #Underground.
For more information: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/confessions-from-the-underground