Bob Herbert is a respected veteran of industry and a strong champion of safety and the rail industry working together to save lives. He has an impeccable reputation for strong leadership and good governance, and in 2005 he was awarded an Order of Australia for services to industry. Bob took on the role of the Chair of the TrackSAFE Foundation in 2012.
Bob will be attending RISSB Rail Safety 2015, 24 – 26 March in Melbourne and providing an industry update on Day Two.
Bob, can you tell us a little about the founding principles of TrackSAFE?
TrackSAFE was founded by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) and UGL in 2012 based on a desire to do more to help rail employees impacted by suicide, trespass and level crossing incidents on the network. Senior rail industry executives got together and determined that the best way of addressing these incidents and the resultant trauma caused to train drivers and other rail employees was to establish and fund a national body— TrackSAFE – to take a holistic approach across industry.
What key progressions have been made in the industry since TrackSAFE’s inception in 2012?
Entirely funded by the rail industry with 20 Members and a Board drawn from rail industry CEOs, senior representatives, and the unions, TrackSAFE has a comprehensive work program and is making considerable progress.
TrackSAFE developed a national Rail Industry Trauma Management Framework which provides best practice guidance for rail organisations in addressing trauma caused to their employees. The Framework and the accompanying training programs and resources are being implemented in rail organisations across Australia.
We have developed and launched two state of the art education programs— Primary and Secondary school level crossing and track safety learning resources called ‘Be on the Safe Side’.
TrackSAFE has re-established a National Level Crossing Safety Committee and coordinate annual Rail Safety Week initiative, which will be in its tenth year this August.
We have partnered with Lifeline and beyondblue to address the issue of rail suicide prevention and have an exciting Community Stations project coming up this year.
Importantly, our rail employees are aware of the work TrackSAFE has underway in an attempt to reduce incidents and allow them to go to work, do their job, and return home safely.
Can you tell us more about the “Rail R U OK? Day” initiative?
TrackSAFE has excitingly partnered with R U OK? — a national, independent, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to encouraging all people to regularly and meaningfully ask ‘are you ok?’ to support anyone struggling in life.
On 16 April 2015, TrackSAFE will coordinate an industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day. The inaugural event will focus on engaging rail staff in conversations about their emotional status by prompting them to answer one simple question: Are you ok? TrackSAFE also aims to change the perception of train stations from locations of isolation to places of community, in order to decrease the potential for self-harm on the rail which has been known to have a significant impact on the mental and emotional health of our rail employees and other first-responders.
TrackSAFE aims to create an environment of support and encouragement so that asking if one is “OK” becomes standard industry practice.
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