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JLE glass failure highlights building regulations gap

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LONDON UNDERGROUND may be forced to replace structural glass at its new Jubilee Line Extension stations even though it complies with Building Regulations.

Health & Safety Executive officials expect the glazing to comply with the regulations even though a panel failed at Stratford station in December, showering the platform with glass.

Fears of a repeat of the Stratford incident last week prompted HSE to ask London Underground for a full report on the type of glass used at new JLE stations.

But an HSE spokeswoman told NCE this week: 'We are in a difficult position. We are not saying the glass does not meet safety standards.

'But we are acting because we do not want to see anyone hurt.'

HSE has asked LUL to identify use of toughened glass and laminated glass in the JLE stations.

Building codes demand that so-called 'safety glass' is used above passengers. In the UK, this encompasses toughened and laminated glass.

However in the US and many parts of Europe, overhead toughened glass has been outlawed because of the risk of it falling.

The HSE spokeswoman said it was not concerned about the glass fixing mechanisms at this point in the investigation. She added that 'a lot of discussion' was expected before any glass was changed. This discussion is scheduled to begin in the next week when LUL reports back. Replacement work is likely to be in limited areas where passengers are at risk.

LUL was this week keeping tight-lipped about the implications of the discussions.

'Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate has asked LUL to carry out a survey of our glazing throughout the whole system,' it said.

'Until our investigations are complete we are not in a position to add anything further.'

In a separate incident last week an acoustic tile fell from the ceiling at Canada Water Station, landing on a platform. No one was injured but the platform was closed while the incident was investigated and passengers rerouted.

LUL has launched an investigation.

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