Health and Safety

KiwiRail has a national standard for health assessments for rail safety workers. The standard is designed to benefit rail safety workers by helping them maintain a sound level of health and fitness. The level of assessment is determined by the tasks being performed. Full details of the health assessment can be viewed here.

All KiwiRail staff are responsible for safety and security, and we take this responsibility seriously. In the past year we committed to Zero Harm – encompassing the belief that all injuries are preventable. Safety experts within KiwiRail are leading this project which includes developing a workplace safety culture where safety and injury prevention is everyone’s responsibility, where rehabilitation at work is the usual course of action, and where excellence in health and safety is integral to all of KiwiRail’s activities.

KiwiRail uses a number of indices to measure workplace safety and health. The two most important are Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) and Medical Treatment Injury Frequency Rate (MTIFR).

Both have been trending down over time. The LTIFR for the 2010-2011 year was 6.1 per million hours worked, a reduction on the previous year’s figure of 6.3, but the index stood at almost eight three years ago. The MTIFR was also down to 49.1 per million hours worked and three years ago it stood at just over 60.

Eighty percent of injuries were either muscular strains from physical tasks or bruises. KiwiRail has been working to reduce workplace injuries with education programmes implemented through toolbox sessions, the TalkSAFE programme and publicity material such as RailSAFE and Express (our internal staff newsletters). 

KiwiRail Innovation Wins 2013 Safety Award

KiwiRail’s innovations to prevent falls won the Kensington Swan Best Initiative to Address a Safety Hazard category in the 2013 New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.

Falls within any industry contribute to an unacceptable number of serious harm incidents. The diversity of KiwiRail business operations presents many different types of challenges and hazards for our people on a daily basis.  Our structures teams required solutions that would enable them to safely complete maintenance and inspection work at heights.

“Smart thinking, collaboration and dedication to getting it right resulted in two innovative safety systems, which we have introduced to eliminate falls from heights on our rail corridor,” says KiwiRail’s former GM of Safety & People, Matt Ballard.

“The Rail Trolley Anchor and Rail Safety Cage we have designed trialled and produced represent leading edge design and technology for our industry.”

Mr Ballard says, “Initiated by a KiwiRail Structures Inspector, the Rail Trolley Anchor is a mobile fall arrest anchorage for rail bridge work where there is any potential for free fall of a worker.  After almost two years of testing and development, KiwiRail now has working prototypes and these are thought to be an international first for the rail industry.”

A further height safety initiative is the Rail Safety Cage.  This was an initiative of our West Coast track team.  It is an easy to use and transportable barrier system that can be used on small maintenance work on bridges.  Assembled in a safe zone, where there is no risk of falls, it can then be rolled along the track, keeping the workers isolated from fall hazards.

We encourage a culture of participation and innovation and these innovations really show the creativity of our people at their best.  They are highly original but also extremely practical and illustrate the type of approach that will enable us to achieve the safe high performance culture we aspire to.

KiwiRail Wins Safeguard Award 2009

KiwiRail took out the supreme award at the New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards 2009.

Safeguard managing editor Peter Bateman, who was on the judging panel, says KiwiRail impressed the judges with its commitment to measure its own safety culture by engaging an outside facilitator to conduct confidential focus groups involving staff.

This sophisticated project, he says, generated an impressive list of roadblocks to better health and safety, but also ways to overcome them. More than this, the process helped to seriously engage staff and management in health and safety concerns and served to underpin the success of other safety initiatives.

“This was quite a brave project for management to approve, as to some extent it handed over power to an outsider working confidentially with ordinary staff, with no way to control or predict the outcomes. But the outcomes prove the risk was worthwhile.”

The winner of the supreme award – the Department of Labour/ACC Best Overall Contribution to Improving Health and Safety in New Zealand – was decided from among the winners of the eight award categories open to organisations. KiwiRail’s initiative also won the category NZ Safety Best Initiative to Encourage Engagement in Health & Safety.

“Health and safety people are the unsung heroes of New Zealand workplaces and thoroughly deserve one night of celebration each year,” says Bateman.

Too often, he says, health and safety issues feature in the media only after a workplace fatality. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the good news about health and safety, and to share knowledge about initiatives that have worked well.

“Health and safety practitioners are by nature collegial and more than willing to share their thinking with others. The awards help to highlight good work and to assist in spreading innovative and effective ideas more widely.” 

Health Assessments

KiwiRail has a national standard for health assessments for rail safety workers. The standard is designed to benefit rail safety workers by helping them maintain a sound level of health and fitness. The level of assessment is determined by the tasks being performed. Full details of the health assessment can be viewed here.

KiwiRail Supports Movember and Wins


MoRail has won the team category of the New Zealand Movember competition having raised $26,089.

KiwiRail employees registered for Movember with 48 teams. The teams combined late Movember to become MoRail in the hope to spur competition and increase fundraising from other New Zealand teams. Vodafone had won the competition for the past 2 years.  Dominion Construction is reported to have come second to us this year raising just over $20k.

The Movember campaign saw “Mo Bro’s” growing and grooming mustaches throughout November whilst raising awareness on men’s health issues, predominantly prostate cancer and depression. Proceeds from Movember go to the Cancer Society and Mental Health Foundation.

Peter Middleton, Mechanical Engineer from the Movember KRMS Wagons team in Christchurch, won the “Best Mo in Character” category – “The Mo who says I am the KiwiRail Mo” and won an Apple IPOD Shuffle. The category was judged by Jim Quinn. Peter stated that Movember was well patronised, everyone had input and was happy with the outcome and noted he would definitely do it again next year.

John Loof, Chief Executive of the Auckland division of the Cancer Society, judged the Ultimate Mo category – The Mo that other mo’s want to be, and was impressed with the efforts of the KiwiRail Mo Bro’s. He chose Greg Hardwicke, Sales Rep, from the Takapuna ‘Bro’s be Mo’s’ team who had done Movember before but had never registered on the website. Greg was stoked to be the winner of this category winning a Nokia 6121 phone and encourages KiwiRail Mo Bro’s to be creative in the 2011 competition. “A lot of Mo Bro’s grew the standard mo or the handle bar mo but next year I hope we can see a lot of different and daring mo’s throughout KiwiRail.”


  • Jillo Shikongo, Rail Operator from Freight Middleton’s ‘Mad Midd Mo Joes’ team won the lame mo category which sees him being presented with a BBQ tool kit.
  • Boris Sokratov from the Mental Health Foundation judged the category and noted that although not everyone had an abundance of facial hair the effort involved was excellent.
  • KiwiRail Mo Exec won the Team Mo Category by raising almost $10,000. Jim Quinn led the Movember individual category for almost 3 weeks and is currently 7th in the New Zealand competition which closes at 10am on 11th December.
  • The Miss Movember category was won by Deborah Hume, GM Passenger Services having raised over $500 and she is being presented with an Annabel Langbein cookbook.
  • Ten KiwiRail Mo Sista’s raised funds for Movember and it is hoped that there will be greater participation in 2011 once people realise that they don’t need to grow a mo, they can still participate, have some fun and be a big part of Movember.