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HSE audits Tube safety before contracts are let

THE HEALTH & Safety Executive this week sent an inspection team into London Underground to begin a safety review as the company prepares for part privatisation.

Before public private partnership contracts to run and maintain the Tube infrastructure are signed, the HSE has insisted on scrutinising safety standards set out in LU's plans.

Martin Brown, HSE's safety case inspector, explained: 'The review is a substantial hurdle for LU but one which is vital before they can operate in their new partnerships.'

Brown heads the team that will investigate how, for example, LU will cope with a derailment under the new company structure. All other safety critical operations and events are being investigated.

A previous HSE review, completed in February, highlighted a series of problems with the PPP plans. This is now expected to be used in the audit as a 'benchmark' to measure LU's response to the HSE's concerns.

Brown said that early next year, when the successful bidders for the work have been announced, the team will investigate how LU and the private firms will work together to improve safety.

'We will interview the bidders to see how their safety intent will be put into practice, ' he said.

The whole audit is expected to be completed before April next year.

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