FOI request detail

Covid deaths

Request ID: FOI-2001-2021
Date published: 02 February 2021

You asked

Please could i request a disclosure of: 1. fatalities throughout TfL and its Subsidiary Companies, directly linked to Covid-19 as cause of death. 2. Death in service during the Covid-19 Pandemic where the virus has been identified as catalyst for worsening an underlying condition. Please could any supplied information be broken down into the area of business i.e. London Underground, Surface Transport, TfL Corporate, London Buses, Croydon Tramlink etc. Then further down into Directorate i.e. Asset Operations, Maintenance, Engineering etc.

We answered

TfL Ref: FOI-2001-2021

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 5th January 2021 asking for information about deaths due to Covid-19 among TfL staff.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy.

Specifically you asked:

Please could i request a disclosure of:

1. fatalities throughout TfL and its Subsidiary Companies, directly linked to Covid-19 as cause of death.

2. Death in service during the Covid-19 Pandemic where the virus has been identified as catalyst for worsening an underlying condition.

Please could any supplied information be broken down into the area of business i.e. London Underground, Surface Transport, TfL Corporate, London Buses, Croydon Tramlink etc. Then further down into Directorate i.e. Asset Operations, Maintenance, Engineering etc.”

I can confirm that we hold some of the information you require.

Before addressing your specific questions it might be helpful to set some context about the measures TfL has taken during the pandemic. Safety is always our top priority and we have been doing all we can to protect transport workers. Our enhanced cleaning regime has made the network cleaner than ever. It uses hospital-grade cleaning substances that kill viruses and bacteria on contact and provides ongoing disinfection, and we’ve installed more than 1,100 hand sanitiser points for everyone to use.

On buses, safety measures have included improved ventilation systems, sealing up the driver’s cab and a relentless focus on cleaning. We ensure extensive daily cleaning takes place across the network that includes the cleaning of ‘touch points’ on board vehicles (steering wheel, poles, doors, handles etc.). Buses are treated with long lasting antiviral cleaner every night after the regular cleaning is completed. Bus garages and rest rooms are similarly treated daily. Social distancing is in place in depots, with the number of tables and chairs in canteens and other rest areas reduced to enable social distancing. At bus garages, stands and stations, additional buses have been parked and designated as staff rest areas. There are also capacity limits on buses that are helping to minimise risk of infection to drivers and customers. We have also asked customers to not sit in seats nearest to bus drivers with signage.

We have regularly tested for coronavirus on our network with no evidence of it having been found to date. In September, we introduced a new testing regime in association with Imperial College London, which involves independent monthly air and surface sampling on both the Tube and buses. The testing undertaken has found no trace of coronavirus.

It is essential that those using the transport network at this time to travel to school, work and other essential services, wear a face covering to help control the spread of the virus. All TfL and front-line bus operator staff have been offered face masks to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Turning to your questions, at the time of your request (i.e. as of 5th January 2021) sadly there had been 57 deaths among TfL staff, bus operators (who are private companies that employ their own staff) and our partner organisations. Note that it is not always possible to say whether a death was directly caused by Covid-19. Our figures therefore include those who have died where they have been identified as having Covid, but the death may have been attributed to more than one reason / cause. This figure can be broken down as follows:

  • Tube and Rail - 8
  • Head Offices – 2
  • Surface Transport – 43 (Including 35 Bus & Dial-a-Ride drivers)
  • Partner Organisations - 4

In relation to your second question, TfL does not routinely collect this information. A specific piece of work was conducted earlier this year by University College London in relation to the deaths of bus drivers, which provides some insight into this matter. More information on this, and a link to the report, can be found on our website here: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2020/july/tfl-responds-to-ucl-s-institute-of-health-equity-review-on-bus-driver-deaths-during-the-pandemic However, we do not hold the necessary information to answer your question across the entirety of TfL for the entirety of the pandemic.

If this is not the information you are looking for please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are considering submitting a further FOI request please think carefully about whether the request is essential at this current time, as answering FOI requests will require the use of limited resources and the attention of staff who could be supporting other essential activity. Where requests are made, please note that our response time may be impacted by the current situation.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

Yours sincerely,

David Wells

FOI Case Officer

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

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