EXTRA safety inspections have been carried out on hundreds of bus shelters after the tragic death of a 67-year-old passenger in East Lancashire.

Freda Mason leaned back and fell through a shelter where a pane of glass was missing, while waiting for a bus in Padiham in July 2018, an inquest heard.

She suffered a number of broken ribs and was taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, Preston Coroner’s Court was told.

But Mrs Mason, who had a number of underlying conditions, including COPD and osteoporosis, had already previously suffered from a broken arm and vertebrae.

Deputy coroner Simon Jones heard that surgical intervention and invasive ventilation was not possible, because of her condition, compromising her breathing, and she died on July 29 ­— three days after the bus stop incident.

Following her death, Mr Jones issued a ‘prevention of death’ notice to Lancashire County Council, which was responsible for the bus shelter.

The inquest heard that the county council had a ‘reactive’ approach to maintenance at the time, relying on bus drivers, members of the public and councillors to report defects.

Before the incident, the pane may have been missing for up to three months, the hearing was told.

Mr Jones said: “This is best described as a reactive process and LCC does not operate an inspection system where it views the bus shelters.

“This means that unless a third party notifies LCC of a problem, it has no knowledge of it and cannot respond or repair.”

“In my opinion a more pro-active system of anticipating necessary repairs could prevent future deaths.

“LCC has the power to take further additional steps to ensure that problems requiring repair are brought to its attention immediately.”

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An LCC spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family following this tragic accident.

“We have already acted upon the coroner’s concerns and are going even further to ensure bus shelters are regularly inspected and any issues brought to our attention.

“We are currently in the process of tendering a contract for a service provider to install, maintain, monitor and repair our bus shelters as part of a comprehensive overhaul and upgrade programme throughout the county.

“This contract will allow us to provide a consistent monitoring regime, where every shelter is checked every six weeks for any damage, with a structural assessment every 12 months.

“We expect this contract to begin later this year. However in the interim we have inspected all of our bus shelters and will continue to check them when visiting to update bus timetables, and have asked bus operators to instruct their drivers to report any damage.

“We have also updated notices asking people to use our Report It system to inform us of any damage, making them much more prominent.”

An estimated one-third of shelters are the responsibility of the county council, another third belong to parish or district councils, and the remainder are contracted to advertising firms, on behalf of the authorities.

County council officials are also understood to be in talks with these other agencies, to ensure an ‘efficient reporting process’ in future.

“We also think that it is important that our contacts in district councils and the shelter owning advertising agencies recognise the risk of injury to users of bus shelters, following damage, and we are advising them of our arrangements to mitigate risk and suggest that they may wish to consider their own arrangements,” added the spokesman.