Rail Safety Week kicks off today to educate Australians to ‘Stay Rail Safe’ and remind pedestrians, commuters and rail workers that they can all play an active role in rail safety.
Now in its 17th year, Rail Safety Week is an initiative of the TrackSAFE Foundation and is supported by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) to connect and engage both the wider and the rail community on safe rail practices when near, or on, the rail network.
Chair of both the TrackSAFE Foundation and the ARA Danny Broad said more than 100 organisations will unite across Australia and New Zealand to support Rail Safety Week.
“The event once again highlights the importance of industry, government and the community working together to support a safe rail network for all of us.”
Over the last six years there has been on average 83 fatalities on the Australian rail network, with 71 of these being people taking their own life.
There are also as many attempted suicides each year, in addition to 27 injuries at level crossings or because of trespassing on the network and around 1880 level crossing and trespass near hits.
Paralympian and TrackSAFE Rail Safety Ambassador Vanessa Low OAM has continued her support for Rail Safety Week this year, sharing her lived experience as a rail accident survivor.
Vanessa features in this year’s Rail Safety Week campaign to remind people that a moment of distraction can change the lives of many forever.
ARA Chief Executive Officer and TrackSAFE Director Caroline Wilkie said our busy lives and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic continue to disrupt and distract our routines, making it even more important to remain vigilant and be aware and present when in and around the rail network.
“Being rail safe means we all need to play our role in acting responsibly by standing back behind the yellow line, looking up, standing behind the gate, holding onto handrails and removing distractions such as headphones and mobile phones,” Ms Wilkie said.
To coincide with Rail Safety Week, the TrackSAFE Foundation will also host the National Level Crossing Safety Forum in Sydney from Monday 8 August to Tuesday 9 August.
TrackSAFE Foundation Executive Director Heather Neil said the Forum will be attended by a host of experts from rail and road industries, government, police and other groups to discuss key issues related to the National Level Crossing Safety Strategy.
“There are more than 23,000 level crossings in Australia with around half of these crossings on public roads and another half on private land,” Ms Neil said.
“Improving level crossing safety requires a collaborative approach between industry, government and the community.
“The forum will explore opportunities for improving level crossing safety and discuss the role industry can play in supporting these outcomes.”
While Rail Safety Week is staged nationally from Monday 8 August to Sunday 14 August, all rail users are reminded to ‘Stay Rail Safe’ every day.
For more information and to access Rail Safety Week resources visit here.