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Tranz Rail Records Safety Improvements

15 April, 2002

A two-year focus on improving occupation safety is paying off with a 39 percent decrease in Lost Time Injuries during that time.

Since April 2000, there has also been a 12 percent decrease in the number of injuries requiring medical treatment, and a massive 55 percent decrease in the number of severe injuries.

In June 2000 Tranz Rail commissioned an independent safety management review of the company. The report made 21 recommendations - nearly all of which have now been implemented or addressed.

The key initiatives include the establishment of 40 Safety Action Teams, a significant reduction in shunting due to the implementation of ITP, and a new sense of responsibility on managers and staff for their own safety.

In addition, new procedures require that every incident is reported to the Health and Safety team within 24 hours. The issue must then be addressed within 30 days or the incident is escalated to a higher level of management for resolution.

A process of re-enactment has also been implemented to determine causes and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Tranz Rail managing director Michael Beard says he is delighted that the company's re-focussed health and safety regime is starting to show results.

"In the past we have had a bad record when it comes to health and safety. A couple of years ago we went through an extremely bad patch and it was time to make a change," says Mr Beard.

"We have taken the issue seriously and the whole organisation has made a concerted effort to turn the statistics around.

"We can't make a difference in occupational safety without a buy-in from every employee. We're also working closely with Union representatives to ensure we're making changes in the right places."

The next step in the re-focused occupational safety programme is the implementation of regular health & safety audits of each part of the business. These audits will score each work area on their safety performance and how they achieve that performance.

In addition, Tranz Rail will improve its measurement of safety performance and the steps taken by managers to improve safety by implementing a new health & safety information system.

The software, a product of software developer Intaz, is being specifically tailored to Tranz Rail requirements.

The system will be accessible by employees throughout the country and will be implemented by the end of the year.


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