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conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Anjum Naweed, J Aitken
Trains are the fastest and heaviest of land vehicles and the intent of railway systems design is to transport them safely and efficiently from one location to another. Track workers and maintainers are the unsung heroes of rail safety but are often placed in dynamic and hazardous situations, rendering them vulnerable to the very things they work to protect. The dramatic irony inherent in their work is addressed by the “Lookout working’ concept of safeworking where a range of technologies are used to assist in the provision of acceptable margins of personal safety from approaching trains.This technical paper aims to conceptualise the degrees of control and types of technologies used to protect the safety of track workers and maintain the security of their work sites. Presented from a human factors perspective using a systems thinking approach, the paper articulates key lessons that can be drawn from previous accidents and “near-misses” associated with failures in track worker protection, which have been investigated in the context of railways in the UK and Australasia. The objective of the paper is to evaluate the viability of utilising smarter technologies to achieve improvements in maintenance track worker safety within the Australian railway environment.