Health & Safety assessment of seating on new 700 Class carriages

D. Davis made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Govia Thameslink Railway Limited
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority


This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Govia Thameslink Railway Limited.

Dear Govia Thameslink Railway Limited,
I would like to make a request for information relating to human health and safety under the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).

Having travelled on your new 700 Class carriages on the Thameslink route, I found that the window seats were positioned so that a heating duct makes it impossible to put one's feet straight down onto the floor, and the narrowness of the seat and the curve of the carriage wall means that one's shoulder is displaced by the window sill.
This created what might be described as a "stress position", and creates a very uncomfortable posture. Typically, someone commuting on the Brighton/Bedford to London Thameslink route could be sat in this posture for around 15 hours per week (90 mins per journey, twice a day, 5 times a week).

Poor posture when seated is known to create health problems over time, such as repetitive strain injury, neck and back problems.
I would like to know if you have carried out any health and safety assessment of the effect of sitting in one of these 700 Class window seats over a typical commute. If so, please could you provide the findings of that assessment. If not, please could you state why this has not been done.

Yours faithfully,
D. Davis

Customer Services, Govia Thameslink Railway Limited

Dear Sir/Madam

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We aim to respond in full
to your enquiry within 20 working days.

We have been advised by the RMT Union that its conductor members will hold
further strike action on the 4th and 5th November. For further information
on how your journey may be impacted please visit our strike customer
advice page at www.southernrailway.com/RMTstrike

We want to hear your feedback on the proposals for the major timetable
change in 2018 following completion of the Thameslink Programme. Read more
and tell us what you think here www.southernrailway.com/2018consultation

Kind Regards
 
Southern Customer Relations

Dear Govia Thameslink Railway Limited,
I am disappointed not to have received a prompt reply to my request for information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, as can be seen at the following URL: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...
This is despite my having chased the matter with your company via direct messaging to you @TLRailUK twitter account.
I will now refer the matter to the Information Commissioner's Office.
Yours faithfully,
D.Davis

Customer Services, Govia Thameslink Railway Limited

Dear Sir/Madam

We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We aim to respond in full
to your enquiry within 20 working days.

We have been advised by the RMT Union that its conductor members will hold
further strike action from the 6th to 8th December. For further
information on how your journey may be impacted please visit our strike
customer advice page at www.southernrailway.com/RMTstrike

We want to hear your feedback on the proposals for the major timetable
change in 2018 following completion of the Thameslink Programme. Read more
and tell us what you think here www.southernrailway.com/2018consultation

Kind Regards
 
Southern Customer Relations

D. Davis left an annotation ()

Govia refused to answer this query, so I referred it to the Information Commissioner's Office.
They came back saying that they did not agree with WhatDoTheyKnow's opinion that Govia were subject to EIR, and closed my case. The End.
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Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Information request to Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd
Our reference FER0661866

Thank you for your correspondence dated 4 January 2017 in which you complain about the above organisation’s compliance with the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The Information Commissioner is a UK independent supervisory authority reporting directly to the UK Parliament. The Commissioner enforces and oversees the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act), the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (the EIR) and related legislation.

The EIR gives members of the public the right to access environmental information held by the vast majority of public authorities and places a duty on public authorities to respond to requests for environmental information.

The definition of ‘public authority’ is given in Regulation 2 of the EIR. It states that "public authority" means the vast majority of public authority’s as defined in Section 3 of the Act, any organisation or person carrying out a public administration function, or any organisation or person that is under the control of a public authority and:-

(i) has public responsibilities relating to the environment;
(ii) exercises functions of a public nature relating to the environment; or
(iii) provides public services relating to the environment.

As the above organisation is not a public authority as defined by Regulation 2 of the EIR it therefore does not have a duty to respond to information requests. For this reason the Information Commissioner is unable to proceed with your complaint and has closed your case.

Network Rail became a public sector body in 2014, specifically an arm’s length central government body. It is the only rail network to have been reclassified in this way. Similarly, since 2015 only water companies, which are private companies, have been held to be public authorities for the purposes of the EIR.

Should you need to discuss the matter I can be contacted on the number below; you should quote the above reference number. You may also find some useful information on our website at www.ico.org.uk.

Yours sincerely
Cressida Woodall
Case Officer

Michael left an annotation ()

Hi There,

Could this request not be submitted to the Department for Transport to respond, rather than Govia Thameslink Railway?

The DfT specified the Class 700 Rolling stock, not GTR and therefore should have made a suitable assessment in this regard.

I would suggest re-submitting the request to the DfT who should have a duty of care to respond.

Mr D C Quince left an annotation ()

Request filed to DfT:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/h...

Kindest Regards,
Dan