Safety recommendations for Tube chiefs after IT worker dies in fall at Canning Town station

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 November 2017

Bernard Ovu died inside Canning Town tube station. Picture credit: The Ovu family

Bernard Ovu died inside Canning Town tube station. Picture credit: The Ovu family


A coroner has made safety recommendations to Transport for London (TfL) after an IT worker fell to his death in Canning Town station.

Bernard Ovu, 35, was trying to catch a night Tube when he mistakenly opened an emergency exit door and entered a restricted area before falling down a stairwell 50 minutes later.

Just one member of staff was working at the station and despite the exit door activating an alarm Bernard, who was caught several times on CCTV, was not spotted by the worker.

His body was found several hours later.

Yesterday, an inquest at Walthamstow Coroner’s Court heard after the alarm was activated the lone worker checked the public area near the door but not where Bernard was.

Evidence heard during the inquest claimed policies in place at the time had not been adhered to and if they had Bernard may have been spotted sooner.

Nadia Persaud, senior coroner, ruled Bernard’s death was an accident and served TfL with a Prevention of Further Deaths Notice (PFDN) which recommends new measures to avoid a similar incident.

Paying tribute to his son, Stephen Ovu, said: “Bernard was a kind, bright, young man with a lot to live for.

“We have some small comfort that he did not seem to suffer but find it hard to accept the place and surroundings where he met his death.

“We sincerely hope that further improvements will be made so that no one else has to die in this way.”

Kathryn Macken, from Bindmans LLP, who represented the family at the inquest, said: “We appreciate the measures taken by the coroner as it is now clear that the risk of further harm persists and more can and should be done to protect others from serious harm when using the tube network.”

Nigel Holness, London Underground’s director of network operations, told the Recorder following a review they had recruited 325 extra staff at stations.

He added: “Safety is our top priority and we will continue to monitor the level of staffing across our network to ensure that our customers are kept safe and receive the best possible level of service and assistance at all times.”

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