Here at Tubeworker, we're big advocates of public art and the liberating potential of artistic expression. But art installations in our workplaces need to take the safety and welfare of staff into account.
This consideration went missing with a recent "Art on the Underground" installation at King's Cross, by the Met/H&C gateline, which featured a looped 12-minute film, with a soundtrack featuring high-pitched singing throughout. A site space allocation was sent to safety reps, but no risk assessment was carried out.
Staff found the noise intolerable. Additionally, disabled member activists within the union flagged up the problem of sensory over-stimulation that could make the workplace a more distressing environment for workers with certain mental health conditions.
After union reps encouraged a campaign of email bombardment to the Area Manager, an agreement was reached whereby the film would only be played between 08:00-10:00 and 17:00-19:00 daily. If something similar happens in your workplace, speak to your safety reps immediately.