The only official magazine of The Cleaning Show

Sweeping away a feather fiasco

Published 17th October, 2012 by Neil Nixon

Sweeping away a feather fiasco

The Initial Facilities cleaning team at Piccadilly Circus came to the rescue and saved the day as more than 1.5 tonnes of feathers threatened to swamp the Underground Station. The white chicken feathers had been released above ground as part of a spectacular aerial performance by Les Studios de Cirque, which had transformed the area into a giant big top as it presented the premiere of its show Place des Anges.

With the streets and spectators covered in a white blanket of feathers, an increasing amount was being blown and carried down stairways and into the ticket hall, so the cleaning team rushed to prevent them reaching other areas of the station and creating a potential hazard for passengers and staff. The three-person afternoon shift comprised Gospodinka Todorova, Veselin Stefanov and Lilliya Beleva, and quickly recognised the health and safety risk and battled to stop the station being closed.

Aderinola Adediran, Initial Facilities’ supervisor at Piccadilly Circus, said: “I received a call from the team at about 8.30pm and rushed to lend a hand. I was able to bring two further colleagues to help, so the six of us worked for more than two hours to clear the feathers as a constant flow was brought into the station. With multiple exits we were battling on all fronts and due to the lightness of the feathers they were very difficult to sweep up - I’ve never experienced anything like it before. Despite this everyone performed brilliantly.”

The stairways, ticket hall and walkways were becoming hazardously slippery, so it was necessary for the cleaning team to constantly remove the build up and clear floors and surfaces of loose feathers to keep passengers and station staff safe from potential injury. With the station busy with passengers, it was also impossible to use any cleaning machinery, so brushes were used to manually sweep up and remove the feathers.
Vic Jones, stations engagement manager at London Underground, said: “The Initial Facilities staff on duty worked tirelessly, and against the odds, to keep up with the endless flow of feathers. They maintained an amazing resilience, collecting and disposing of the onslaught, and I believe their hard work and dedication prevented the station from being closed. Special praise must go to Vasil, Lili and Didi, who took the brunt of it from the start, for their efforts to stem and clear the deluge of weathers. Meanwhile, the night shift team did a fantastic job clearing the remainder of the mess and returning the station to a state where it was hard to believe there had been any feathers at all.”

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