Queensland Rail traincrew are turning to specially trained experts to recover from traumatic incidents – their work mates.
The Trauma Support Network has been boosted with 17 new participants joining 30 existing traincrew, ready to rally around their work mates after a near miss or fatality.
Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the 47 volunteer drivers and guards were specially trained to support their colleagues after a critical incident.
“This is about mates helping mates,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“There is a special link forged by the fact the Trauma Support team do the same job and understand the same challenges.
“While there’s been a 15% reduction in near misses from the previous financial year, any near miss is one too many.
“The reality of these figures is that Queensland Rail traincrew are reporting incidents every day which involve someone, somewhere risking their life.”
Queensland Rail Chief Executive Officer Paul Scurrah said trespassing, taking shortcuts and other unsafe behaviour near railway tracks was ‘not a joke, and could leave train drivers with sickening memories that may never leave them’.
“Our train drivers are repeatedly suffering trauma as a result of these close calls, including nightmares and flashbacks,” Mr Scurrah said.
“Some drivers suffer long-lasting trauma, and four traincrew have taken extended leave after incidents this year. At least one of our drivers has not been able to return to work in more than five years.
“The primary purpose of the program is to maintain the safe running of our trains, but TSN volunteers also participate in specialised training every two years to develop support skills and awareness of further assistance available.”
Queensland Rail Train Driver Keith Dickinson said being a part of the Trauma Support Network was a rewarding experience, and provided a vital aid to fellow drivers and guards.
“When needed, we travel with a train driver or guard after they have experienced a fatality or near miss and want support following their return to work,” Mr Dickinson said.
“If the driver needs a break we can take over or if they simply want to talk about what happened, we are there for them.
“It’s disappointing that people continue to risk their lives around rail lines, giving us a dose of shock and fear. Motorists and pedestrians need to realise there are consequences to their actions, which could simply be avoided if signs and signals were obeyed.”
Mr Scurrah said Queensland Rail was committed to doing everything possible to save lives, but pedestrians and motorists needed to play their part and simply follow the rules.
“Every near miss is a catastrophe waiting to happen. In some cases it’s only luck that has saved lives, and ultimately luck runs out,” Mr Scurrah said.
“If you’re even thinking about taking risks, perhaps if you consider the important things in your life which are worth waiting for you will change your mind.”
The 47 Trauma Support Network members come from across the state including Cairns, Bundaberg, Robina, Caboolture, Ipswich, Beenleigh, Petrie, Nambour, Shorncliffe and Mayne.
“The Trauma Support Network is just one of the initiatives Queensland Rail is committed to providing for traincrew involved in workplace critical incidents,” Mr Scurrah said.