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?
SuspendedA 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."
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.