The onus of railway safety is ultimately on the individual and it means personal knowledge and personal responsibility.
Pass all the laws and guidelines you like, safety comes down to human error. How well the person on the spot understands what he or she is doing and how far he or she owns the plan, the place and the system of work is integral to personal track safety.
The safety message from the industry is clear. You, the individual, have a duty of care to yourself and those you work with. It is important that all understand what is being proposed. What it is that is being asked of staff?
The message from safety experts is simple: If you don’t understand or think it unsafe then say so. New railway safety campaigns re-assert the concept of personal responsibility. Never undertake any activity unless you know you are competent, have been trained and briefed and understand what is involved.
Don’t take short cuts just to get the job done. Feed such knowledge upwards for another time – make a contribution. There is no knowledge like first hand knowledge.
Ultimately railway organisations bear daunting responsibility for moving thousands of people in safety and comfort every day. That they are able to do so with what is an enviable industrial safety record, is in no small way down to the ownership of safety at work by the people delivering the industry. Front line staff deserve every support and encouragement as they strive to keep the railway safe.