Rail Passenger Injuries Soar
Article courtesy of Sun-Herald – LISA CARTY
December 27, 2009
THE number of commuters injured on trains, stations and in railway car parks has risen by more than two-thirds, figures show.
But few of the accidents result in compensation claims, with just four claims lodged in 2007-08 and six the previous year.
Figures obtained by the State Opposition under freedom of information legislation show 1471 passengers were injured in 2006-07 compared with 2117 in 2007-08 and 2478 in 2008-09 – six injuries a day.
The most dangerous railway station was Central, where the number of accidents rose from 250 to 376.
Town Hall was next, with 162 injuries in 2008-09, followed by Redfern (97), Wynyard (80), Strathfield (76) and Blacktown (60).
Total compensation for claims lodged in 2006-07 was $275,240. By the following year the figure had dropped to $12,392.
RailCorp defended eight of the 10 claims lodged in those years, and no claims have been received for 2008-09.
Transport Minister David Campbell said more than 300 million trips were made on the rail network each year and the vast majority of people arrived at their destination safely and on time.
”There has been an increase in the number of reported passenger injuries and this follows the introduction of an improved and more comprehensive safety and incident reporting regime,” he said.
”This regime includes thorough safety training and an ongoing awareness campaign, which encourages staff to report all incidents that occur at their stations, no matter how minor.
”At a busy station like Central, for example, more than half [56 per cent] of the injuries reported did not require either first aid or hospitalisation, and two-thirds of the remainder required first aid treatment only.
”CityRail provides advice to passengers at stations about how to be safe and secure on the network and has relevant personal safety messages on its website for rail travellers and for teachers and students.”
Opposition Transport spokeswoman Gladys Berejiklian said it was a ”major concern” that almost seven people a day were hurt at railway stations across NSW.
”The State Government needs to make every aspect of rail safety an absolute priority,” she said.
”This situation will only worsen following the Government’s decision to slash front-line rail staff, meaning many stations across NSW are now completely unattended.
”The Government’s failure to adequately implement the Easy Access Program means so many stations still do not have lifts or ramps, which means our most vulnerable travellers have to use badly maintained stairs.”