Dumb Ways to Improve Rail Safety

Spotted in a Sydney Metro Station this week – thoughts?

rail safety gimp

Barry Spud

Barry Spud

Safety Crusader, Zero Harm Zealot and Compliance Controller at Everything Safety
Barry Spud

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Barry Spud
What is a Safety Spud? Lets look at a few more spud head activities in risk and safety: 1. Coming on to site saying there is a safety issue when in fact there’s no such thing, it’s a political issue. 2. ‘Falling apart’ when people make choices that we think are stupid because they won’t do as we ‘tell’ them. Then we put on the angry face and think that overpowering others creates ownership. 3. Putting on the zero harm face, presenting statistics, knowing it has nothing to do with culture, risk or safety. 4. Putting on the superman (hazardman) suit and pretending to be the saviour of everything, this is good spud head cynic stuff. 5. Thinking that everyone else is a spud head except me. 6. Thinking there’s such a thing as ‘common’ sense and using such mythology to blame and label others. 7. Accepting safety policies and processes that dehumanize others. 8. Blaming, ego-seeking, grandstanding and territory protecting behind the mask of safety. 9. Thinking that risk and safety is simple when in fact it is a wicked problem. Denying complexity and putting your spud head in the sand. 10. Continually repeating the nonsense language and discourse of risk aversion that misdirect people about risk, safety, learning and imagination.

15 Replies to “Dumb Ways to Improve Rail Safety”

  1. “Let’s do a safety something. Anything.”
    This is cheaper than replacing our nice-looking but low grip floor treatments.

  2. Oh dear! This is about as effective as placing a cat with Ice Skates on an Ice Rink & then expecting it to tread carefully & not slip & slide!

  3. The Grenfell Tower disaster has achieved a similar response from local governments and many property managers, which are underpinned by telemarketing scams. This often involves the engagement of backpacker labour without workers compensation insurance to performance building maintenance until one of them is electrocuted. The bereaved families are left chasing smoke and encounter a tyranny of bureaucracy as faceless panjandrums in state and local governments sacrifice the truth to protect reputations and evade accountability, which is typically diffused and defused into a tyranny of bureaucracy. It sounds very much like the home insulation program…….History repeats itself, first as tragedy then as farce.

    Meanwhile our peak industry body sits on the fence with its vision of safe and healthy people in productive workplaces and communities. The primary object of safety legislation is to secure the health and safety of people at work.

    The only thing in the middle of the road is a yellow streak and dead armadillos – Jim Hightower.

  4. It’s worth taking a look at NSW state rail and its performance under Nick (I don’t remember) Groaner, another crepuscular and fiscally conservative neoliberal acolyte.

    Following a Booz Allen Hamilton report in 1989, north coast rail services were considered commercially unviable and brutally slashed. This was exacerbated by widespread redundancies throughout country rail operations to recoup a burgeoning $1 billion annual debt. It left a much maligned goat track as the only transport link between north coast towns and the consequences soon emerged via the Cowper and Clybucca disasters with the horrific deaths of 56 people.

    Some two years before the horrific bus smashes his partner, the daughter of a Commonwealth Bank executive, was acquitted of a mid-range drink driving charge. It followed a lunchtime o’booze at a Central Coast business function, which left the Kirribilli princess feeling rather tired and emotional.

    The report from the coronial inquest into Australia’s worst road disasters inevitably blamed the drivers although it is curiously unavailable on the state coroners website and a book containing a summary of the investigation by the late coroner is now out of print.

    Indeed, official investigations into both disasters remain as enigmatic as the White River Timber tax records, which surreptitiously went up in smoke following a frantic Judᴂan-Hungarian stocktake

  5. Oh wait a minute. We are NOT supposed to slip on the stairs to ensure we don’t experience harm or pain? Well hell, NOW it is all crystal clear. I, for one, did not know any better and/or forgot this very insightful and well thought out tip. How did we ever make it as a species without Safety people? Here I was taking all sorts of risks. I am a little embarrassed to admit this but believe it or not I actually walked around my house this morning to get breakfast and did not have any reminders or tips as to how I should accomplish that safely. Talk about complacency and pure luck on my part! Frankly without a sign or safety moment to tell me how to type these words safely, I feel I must stop now because I am at risk or all kinds of potential harm.

    1. Safety is the only industry that has no idea of how to talk about fallibility and so in desperation resort to childish symbols and heroes of mythology to find meaning in risk. If my grandkids saw this gimp they would run away in fear and probably have an accident.

  6. This has given me awhile to respond. Trying to be brief this poses a few questions and observations for me in regard to just how far has workplace safety developed in the thirty plus years its been about. Really…is this “initiative” and example of where we are after all this time. Is this the best a “model” employer can come up with.
    I think about the “team” behind it. What is the cost of the “team”, is it an example of value for money. How much has been “invested” in development & training and is this the extent and end result of the “development & training. Just think of the “professional” body that perhaps members of the “team” belongs to, what does it say?
    I think about the areas where there has been development in this area, its heavily in the “soft” side of workplace safety, but where it matters most, where it takes work, social skills etc….hard work….its left wallowing, and I feel this signage demonstrates it well.

    1. If it uses our peak industry body as a yardstick, its hardly surprising it generates such trash. Just take a look at the drivel and turgid sludge from numerous safety conferences across the region. It beggars belief what the Australian Institute of Heinrich and Skinner will come up with for the next world congress following the Vision Zero Hillsong gathering in Singapore…….If you’re happy and you know it stamp your feet.

  7. Personally, I think we should be glad that this is Rail Safety Week. Train travel should be safe from slipping passengers until Sunday.

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