Of KiwiRail’s four core values, ‘Care and Protect’ is the one our people live and breathe. It is why our Zero Harm vision is to become the leading health and safety organisation in New Zealand.
The concept of Zero Harm starts with our people. We want all of our people and the public to go home safe to their families every day.
There are a number of things we do to encourage a proactive approach to safety. We have frontline Health and Safety Action Teams throughout the country highlighting issues and helping find solutions. Additionally, we offer safety skills training with a focus on non-technical skills, and engage with our people through ‘Safety, Health and Environment’ Work Conversations and through High Performance, High Engagement projects.
There are other projects where KiwiRail is trialling technology to support safe operations.
KiwiRail, Downer and Aurecon jointly won the supreme New Zealand Health and Safety Award 2022 for a project that uses digital shields to help protect rail workers and infrastructure. Using GPS and a 3D model of the rail corridor the shields work by locking the controls of an excavator if any part of it gets too close to overhead lines, the live rail corridor or other sensitive infrastructure.
Fatigue is another issue faced by the rail industry and others. KiwiRail and our union partners worked with the Massey University Sleep/Wake Research Centre on new ways to manage fatigue in the workplace. The resulting fatigue risk management system includes process improvements such as improved roster design and development of new education modules.
A collaborative effort by KiwiRail employees and the RMTU to make hotworks safer won a New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Award in 2017.
KiwiRail actively works with communities, schools and NZ Police to promote rail safety awareness, and address incidents of high risk behaviour and trespass on the rail corridor.
The rail network is an operational space and public access is restricted and strictly managed by KiwiRail. Any work within five metres of the rail line or rail land requires a Permit to Enter issued by KiwiRail's National Permit Office.
We have established a nation-wide network of safety ambassadors who visit schools and attend community events to speak about rail safety. Ambassadors are equipped with the resources needed to provide consistent and appropriate safety messages, including rail safety awareness videos aimed at school children.
KiwiRail is a key sponsor of TrackSAFE NZ, a charitable trust that raises awareness about rail safety and ways to keep safe around tracks and trains. Each year KiwiRail supports Rail Safety Week, run in conjunction with TrackSAFE NZ, to engage the public and share critical messages about staying safe around trains.
Find out more about rail safety education here.