Rail worker sacked for rescuing woman?

train tracks

A c2c staff member has been suspended, after rescuing a disabled woman who had fallen onto the track at Southend station. He jumped onto the track with three other people in order to pull her and her wheelchair to safety. However, he has been suspended for his heroism, after he breached health and safety rules.

So is heroism being slowly killed by health and safety?



A spokesman from the rail company told the Echo that: "We have strict rules regarding correct safety procedures and an employee has been suspended while our investigations into the incident continue."

The woman was rescued five minuted before the next train was due, and while it was only a quarter of a mile away: the track was clear by the time the train arrived.

The Union told The Telegraph: "Clearly it is a travesty of justice that a member of staff has ended up threatened with disciplinary action for helping avoid a potential tragedy at Southend and RMT is calling on the company to recognise the strength of feeling this this case has generated amongst both staff and the public."

"RMT is representing our member and will do all that we can to ensure that he is returned to work as soon as possible with no stain on his record and a recognition that station-based rail staff play a crucial role in ensuring public safety."

Britain's most dangerous jobs
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Rail worker sacked for rescuing woman?

By far the most dangerous job across most of the world is fishing. Apparently 103 in every 100,000 fishermen will die at sea - most of them by drowning, and according to Oxford University, those who work at sea are an incredible 50 times more likely to die at work than anyone else.

How well they are rewarded for risking their lives depends on where they fit in the pecking order. At the very top, with your own boat and crew, in a good year, you could bring home more than £100,000. At the bottom of the heap as a trainee deckhand you would be lucky to get more than £10,000 a year.

In the army, these experts have the nickname Felix - because they need every one of the nine lives. We all make mistakes at work and in this role mistakes will kill or maim you. 

In return for taking up such a dangerous role, you'll be paid £32,000 a year, which is made to look even more paltry by the fact that many of these experts end up drawing a disability pension before very long.

The risks of working with highly volatile and explosive materials in impossibly difficult natural environments is bad enough. Add in the risks of working in politically charged environments where you may well be a target for terrorists, and you can see why this is a dangerous job. In fact it has a fatality rate of around 32 per 100,000, and around 100 people a year die in the industry- around twice the average for all UK workers.

This risk, however, is reasonably rewarded - partly because of the fact it can be hard to attract workers to the places where oil and gas needs to be extracted. It's not uncommon for those with experience to be making £75,000 a year.

Put people up high, give them something heavy and awkward to carry, then get them to do it in the rain. It's not surprising this is a dangerous job. What is perhaps surprising is that over the past five years 30% of all work-related deaths in the UK have been in this industry. The riskiest construction jobs are those where heights are part of the every-day business of work - with scaffolders, steeplejacks ad roofers facing the most danger at work.

The pay starts around £20,000 for skilled workers, rising to around £50,000 for site managers.

Around 54,000 road accidents involving professional drivers take place on British roads every year - which is around 250 a day. Meanwhile, one in four of all road deaths involve a driver who is at work at the time. Despite stringent rules about how long they are allowed to drive for, and in-cab telematics to make sure they don't bend the rules, tiredness is the main cause. 

In return for the danger, plus the long hours and the anti-social lifestyle, these workers can expect to earn around £25,000 a year.

The risks are perhaps unsurprising, given that drowning accounts for the majority of fatalities. However there are also problems from high gas consumption and mental health problems, often due to having to spend inordinate times decompressing in a confined space with another individual.

However, given the risks, the inhospitable locations and the skills required, the role can earn you £100,000 a year or more.

These are often ex-military personnel employed to protect wealthy or powerful individuals. The role is unsurprisingly highly dangerous, with the constant threat of terrorist attacks, enemy fire or booby traps.

There really is danger money associated with this job, which is another role than can earn the right individual 6 figures a year.

Around 15 police officers lose their lives at work every year. However, surprisingly, the biggest risk is from involvement in a road accident, which causes 70% of the deaths. Around half of these are officers getting to and from work. Meanwhile no more than one or two are killed by criminals in an average year. Fatalities, however, are only a small proportion of the massive number of injuries a policeman can pick up - with roughly one police officer injured every hour.

In return they can expect to earn around £40,000, rising to £55,000 for senior officers.

Again there aren't a huge number of deaths in the line of duty. However, every fire is potentially fatal, and every job carries the risk of injury. Injures are very common, although burns account for only 5% of them, the rest tend to be due to things like training and carrying equipment.

The pay has been subject to a number of arguments and even strikes but is currently around £30,000.

Perhaps it's surprising that this doesn't come higher up the list. Since 2001 over 350 have lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The front line is clearly just about the most dangerous environment possible, and has to be up there with the place that most people would least like to work.

In return for putting their lives on the line in the service of their county, army personnel can expect to be paid £14,000 when they start out - rising to up to £100,000 for the most senior officers.


Is herosim dead?

We will have to wait to see the outcome of the investigation as to whether this employee will be punished for his bravery, but it begs the question of whether health and safety policies have killed heroism.

Fortunately, there are still times when the instinct to do the brave and heroic thing overcomes the desire to stick by the rules at all costs.

In Los Angeles last month, a confused 84-year-old woman accidentally drove her car into the front of an off licence. She hit a display of bottles of vodka, which immediately caught fire. However, she was rescued by two store employees who pulled her from her car and carried her to safety.

In Pennsylvania in June, a council worker had just finished putting up barricades around a flooded road when an elderly couple drove into it and stalled. The man got out as water poured into the car, and the worker, Paul Bazik, carried the elderly woman to safety.

In April two tyre company employees in Daytona, Florida, saw a woman set light to her car at a petrol station over the road. They heard her say her babies were still in the car, so they ran over to rescue the children. They were somewhat surprised to find two dogs in the car, but rescued them anyway.

In the US last summer, railway employees jumped onto the tracks at a Philadelphia station to rescue a 4-year-old girl who had fallen onto the tracks between the train and the platform. The conductor was hailed as a local hero.

Clearly these people took real risks with their own lives in order to save others. The question is whether the world would be a better place if they just sat tight and followed company policy.

Safest Jobs in Britain Revealed
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Rail worker sacked for rescuing woman?

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