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Critical incidents – NSW Trains needs to step up

Sep 18, 2015Loco Express

We’ve got a new Critical Incident Procedure in Sydney Trains which is now being referred to as “world’s best practice” in the rail industry, but NSW Trains is still lagging behind.

This new procedure at Sydney Trains provides an enhanced level of support from all levels for drivers involved in critical incidents with the addition of a fair wage outcome that removes any financial disadvantage for members.

The RTBU has been endeavouring to attain the same or similar agreement with NSW Trains, so far without success. NSW Trains are going to deliver ‘Suicide Awareness Training’ for all station and guard/pss staff and all employees will participate in a ‘coping with trauma’ course. While these are reasonable initiatives, the real issue of how drivers are supported following a fatality in NSW Trains continues to be abominable, particularly in regional areas.

Two recent fatalities have seen drivers left at the scene of the incident unsupported by anyone from management for excessive periods of time and then left to get themselves home.

In one instance, a driver involved in a fatality was taken to a hospital by police for the required testing and subsequently returned to the station where the fatality occurred (three and half hours later!) at 0130 in the morning and left there to find his own way home. No one from management contacted the driver to check how he was until 1430 the next day.

In another case, a driver involved in a fatality was left uncontacted and unsupported at the scene for over five hours only to be then required to move the train off the victim in order for police to retrieve the body.

Both of these instances reflect a very poor a duty of care by NSW Trains for its employees and only highlight the need for that business to get its act together and implement an up to date Critical Incident Procedure that actually deals with the problems faced by train drivers involved in these unfortunate incidents as Sydney Trains has done.

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