Fatality procedure lacking
Fatalities are something which are becoming more common place in our working lives with the resultant traumatic impacts on members and their families. The Loco Division has led the way in ensuring members (and their families) receive appropriate physiological support immediately after and in the following weeks/months following events which are beyond their control and for which they are actually victims.
Having said this, all the years of work that went into ensuring these provisions were adopted by both Sydney and NSW Trains could not have foreseen the callous behaviour of these businesses following a recent fatality on the tracks. Following the fatality and with passengers still on the train (some of whom would have heard and felt the impact) both the driver and guard were relieved and provided transport home as per the agreed procedure however, the incoming relief crew could not have been prepared for what was about to unfold.
Once the police had removed the crime scene declaration the Incident Response Commander (at the direction of the ROC) told the new driver to slowly drive the train forward and stop with the back crew cab on the platform. With the deceased victim still under the train, this meant the driver was told to actually drive the train over the remains. The guard (in the rear cab) was told to “not look out the back window” in case he saw the remains. The driver questioned whether the train was to be terminated, passengers detrained and the train sent to Flemington for cleaning only to be told “no, continue in revenue service to Gosford”.
There are few words that could adequately describe the events that occurred without descending to expletives. Nor are there words to explain these actions and the complete disregard for the welfare of the new train crew who now have to live with knowledge of what they were forced to do. It’s bad enough that train crew are exposed to these incidents in their working lives however, there is no logical reason for them to have to be further impacted needlessly. The actions of the businesses in this incident are viewed with absolute disgust and the decision to continue running the train as a passenger service shows a blatant disregard of everything except running trains, including decency, humanity and respect for the deceased and any possible emotional impacts on the passengers on the train at the time!