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Railway Risk Management: Granville Rail Disaster

Rationale 

Students of Safety and Risk Management need to understand and he able to apply safety management principles.A major part of the application of safety and risk management principles is the skill to analyse and evaluate safety incidents and to identify weakness and failure which led to safely breaches or major incidents. The analysis of Case Studies will develop students. skills in risk management and practical application of theory. 

Task There have been many train crash. in Australia and overseas as a result of safety breaches. 

Choose one of these incidents and, with supporting evidence discuss how safety breaches contributed to the train crash.

Detail any changes to policy or practice that resulted from the incident and how this was implemented. 



Answer

SAFETY AND RISK MANAGEMENT

Safety and risk management in any sector is important as that ensures the safety and health of the people that are associated with it. The role of the government in safety and risk management is utmost as they are the primary body that sees whether an organization or a group are adhering to the norms of safety of the people for ensuring that there are least chances of hazardous impact on them. Along with that, the relevant team and the organization is also expected to adhere to the important measures of risk management as devoid of those, there shall be high chances of posing threat to people, with chance of life threatening as well. Therefore, the very first step of safety and risk management must start with the identification of the accumulated hazards that are most likely to occur. On the basis of those, the primary purpose is to take steps for the amalgamation of those in order to curb the risk associated with people’s safety. The current essay focuses on bringing out one of the train crashes in Australia which was a contribution of the safety breaches of the associated personnel. 

The train crash incident which has been selected in the current essay is the Granville rail disaster which is one of the worst train mishaps in the history of Australia. The incident took place in the year 1977, dated the 18th of January. According to Boniface et al. (2015), the place of the incident was Granville, a place in New South Wales in the western part of Sydney. The incident associated the derailment of the train into two passenger carriages and thus, resulting into the threat caused to the lives of many people.  The number of people died in the incident rose to 84 with more than 210 people being injured. Along with that, there was adverse impact on nearly 1300 people. The train was using an electric locomotive 4620 and as soon as the train entered Granville at 8.10 am, there was derailment of the locomotive and hit the pillars of a bridge near the railway track. According to McFarlane and Van Hooff (2014), after the bridge broke, there was minimal impact on the first and second carriage. However, the last half of the third carriage and first half of the fourth carriage had the most drastic effects of the bridge collapsing and immediately there was death of 8 passengers. More than half of the passengers in the third and fourth carriage had an instant death. The rescuers had to lift the bridge up and then save the passengers. Some of the passengers also suffered due to the bridge being on their limb or torso which was like that for hours. Along with that, as studied by Kayes and Yoon (2016), the LPG gas that was there in the trains posed huge risk to the passengers, thereby, causing higher chances of ignition of the gas. However, the rescuers paid heed to the fact and kept on continuing spraying water to curb ignition of the gas.  

As opined by Kayes (2015), the primary risks that are associated with railway are social, political and engineering and construction. Among these, the risk of engineering and construction is given most importance to as that determines the safety of the associated people. According to Ling (2014), there must be appointment of railway engineers who are efficient in the matter and foresees any risk at prior time internals. This curbs the occurrence of any accidental risk to a great extent. The efficiency of the engineers is even more important because of the long distance that railway covers. In the opinion of Ingham and Redshaw (2017), the construction area for railways ranges   from thousands of kilometers covering areas of different provinces and cities. Therefore, in this regard, it is extremely important that the civil engineers appointed for the purpose are highly efficient. Moreover, they also perform the tasks of risk managers and identify all the hazards that are likely to occur in the railway sector. The civil engineers are also entrusted with the task of building strong railway tracks to curb incidents of derailment of the train. Moreover, there is also a need of appointment of people who would look after the purpose at regular intervals. Therefore, from all these factors, it can be analyzed that at the very beginning, there was a dearth of appointment of efficient civil engineers due to which the derailment occurred in Granville. Along with that, the people also failed to identify the risks that were hugely associated with the railway system as any issue in the railway system would result in the collapse of the bridge.

Moreover, as studied by Samouei, Abedi and Ferdosi (2014), it is also extremely essential in railway that there is linear distribution with precise focus being given to the rail, roadbed, tunnels, station equipments, bridges and signals. However, in the provided scenario it can clearly be analyzed that there was no assessment of the roadbed due to which the derailment occurred. As stated by Flynn, McCarroll and Biggs (2015), incidents of derailment occurs due to factors such as broken roadbeds, mechanical failure and other factors. Thus, it is important in this regard that prior evaluation of the equipments is done at regular intervals in order to mitigate any risk in the preliminary stage only. Therefore, in the aforementioned train incident, it could be clearly stated that there was a lack of prior evaluation of the roadbed due to which the derailment occurred as there was chance of broken track as well. Moreover, according to Boniface  et al. (2015), communication plays an important role in assessing and managing risks inn railways as that helps passing information in a gradual rate between the individuals and thus, addressing all the important information about the train journey. However, the dearth of effective communication could also be noticed in the current scenario as the rail officials were not being informed of the broken roadbed or the mechanical failure and therefore they could not take the necessary steps for avoiding the incident. The primary safety breach is the assessment of the rail officials in terms of the roadbed, track and condition of the train. Moreover, precautions must have been taken in terms of the bridge as well. Along with that, the reluctance of the officials associated with the railway sector could also be witnessed to have contributed to the occurrence of the incident. In the opinion of McFarlane and Van Hooff (2014), one of the core aspects of safety and risk management is to analyze any of the machines and their conditions. The primary cause of the Granville railway incident was the locomotive 4620 which lost its control, as a result of which the train derailed. Therefore, this is clear evident of the dearth of maintenance of the trains and the motors. Therefore, from all these factors, it can be stated that the lack of construction and engineering risk management measures seemed to have contributed majorly to the prevalence of the train crash at Granville. 

Along with that, there was political risks as well that contributed immensely and equally to the occurrence of the issue. As reported by Leigh (2015), a few months before the incident, Gobbe, who was the ambulance officer made a report stating the weakness of the railway track which could call for a mishap at any point of time. However, several traces have been found which marks up bullying of him several numbers of times by Murray Farquhar, the Magistrate. Due to this, the information stated in the report could never be read by the railway officials and as a result, they failed to take any step for curbing the issue. Thus, as commented by Kayes and Yoon (2016), safety breach contributing to the occurrence of the mishap was equally responsible for the incident. There was immense political corruption and discrepancy which led to the loss of many lives and injury to several. After the occurrence of the incident an investigation took place which marked the discrepancy of Farquhar, thereby, leading to his imprisonment of him for 4 and half years. 

The incident resulted in the change of a number of aspects of safety and risk management in Australia. As reported by rissb.com.au (2018), a large part of the government earning was spent to make up for the losses incurred in the Granville train incident. The government also paid attention to the appointment of more efficient officials who would contribute to the betterment of the track and the railway system. The infrastructure was built by the government again with a huge spending. The government gave clear precision to the fact that there was frequent maintenance of the railway tracks and also identification of any issue to curb that in the preliminary stage only. According to rissb.com.au (2018), the most prominent aftermath of the incident is witnessed in 19900 when a number of regulators were established in all parts of the country for ensuring the maintenance of safety in all the relevant rails. A national code of practice was also established by the New South Wales government to be abided by each of the individuals in the railway sector for better safety and risk management. 

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