Rail CEO’s announced last week the establishment of the first national rail safety Foundation, the trackSAFE Foundation, in Brisbane at the largest rail conference in Australasia, AusRAIL PLUS 2011.
The foundation will focus on four Key Areas: railway level crossing safety, trespass, suicide on the rail network, and the resultant trauma of these three factors on rail industry staff.
trackSAFE will pool industry funding, resources, knowledge and experience to take a holistic approach to rail safety in Australia.
Andy Summers, Chief Executive of UGL Infrastructure and Rail and Lance Hockridge, Managing Director & CEO of QR National and Chairman of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) are announcing the establishment of the not-for-profit rail organisation.
Mr Hockridge welcomed the Foundation, saying it will drive behavioural change in the community and save lives of young people, motorists and pedestrians who take risks around railways.
“Unfortunately, every year people are tragically and needlessly killed at level crossings or when trespassing across railways.
“As a community, this is unacceptable. The ARA is calling for a collective effort involving the rail industry, road authorities, and health and education experts to tackle the issues and develop strategies that will work.
“The Foundation will also help rail industry employees who are impacted and traumatised by incidents on the rail network and become the silent victims in these tragedies.”
Mr Summers said “There has been a significant amount of progress improving key areas of rail safety over the last decade.
“However, with over 30 fatalities and 1,000 near collisions just at level crossings each year there is undoubtedly more work to be done.”
First year activities of the foundation include: a targeted media campaign; the development of a rail safety education package to be implemented into the national curriculum; a rail network suicide prevention program in conjunction with LifeLine and beyondblue; and research into the best possible ways to alleviate and mitigate rail industry trauma.
The trackSAFE Foundation will not take away from the effective state-based rail safety initiatives already in place, but rather build on these and spread best practice across the industry.
Today, rail CEOs will be asking players from across industry to come on board and make a commitment to the trackSAFE Foundation.
The official trackSAFE Foundation Launch will take place at the annual Rail Safety Conference in Sydney in March 2012.
(Source: Australasian Railway Association)