1902 08 08

1902 August 8th            Railway Workers Safety

Important New Rules

Important regulations for the safety of railway servants were confirmed at a special meeting of the Railway and Canal Commissioners, Mr Justice Wright, Viscount Cobham, and Sir Frederick Peel. Ten regulations drafted by the Board of Trade under the Prevention of Accident Act, 1900, were submitted for the confirmation of the commissioners. Opposition was offered to several by Mr Cripps, KC, who represented the railway companies, and the objections were resisted by the Attorney General on behalf of the Board of Trade, and by Mr Robson, KC (with whom were Mr Artemus Jones and Mr E Browne) as representing through Mr Bell, MP, the railway workers of the country.

Of the nine rules which were confirmed, one makes illegal the moving of trucks by means of props or poles or with a chain or rope attached to a vehicle moving on an adjacent line. In 1901 seven men were killed and 433 injured in this way. In the same period one man was killed and 112 men injured whilst attending to ground points.

In future all point rods or signal wires which are a source of danger to shunters must be covered and guarded and ground levers so placed as to leave the shunters using them clear of adjacent lines.

Boiler-guage glasses on engines of steam boilers must in future be protected by a covering, 362 men having been injured in 1901 whilst attending to the machinery of engines in steam. For the protection of railway drivers and stokers, all tool boxes on engines must be within the reach of men whilst the engine is in motion without undue risk of injury. Similarly water guages must be provided on engines and tenders to indicate the amount of water in the tanks. In 1901 twenty men were killed and seventy-eight injured by falling off engines by the traveling of trains: ten men were killed and 260 injured whilst getting on and off engines during the traveling of trains : and nine men were killed and fifty-six injured by coming in contact with over-bridges or structures on the side of the line.

Rule 9 requires all goods guards traveling beyond station limits to be provided with brake vans. The necessity for this is proved by the fact that in 1901 four men were killed and thirty-six injured whilst riding on vehicles during shunting operations through coming into contact with other vehicles standing on adjacent lines: twenty men were injured while passing over or standing upon buffers during shunting: four men were killed and 234 injured in getting on or off or by falling off engines and waggons during shunting: and seven were killed and 378 injured while “braking” or “chocking” wheels.

Rule 10 compels companies to provide proper apparatus and specified persons to maintain a good look out for trains or engines approaching any permanent way men on the line. In 1901 ninety-five men were killed and 117 injured whilst working on the permanent way, sidings, etc, ; 164 were killed and 300 injured whilst crossing or standing on the line on duty, of whom 114 were killed and 240 injured in and about stations; and forty-four men were killed and thirty-five injured whilst walking on the line on the way home or to work.

The only rule which was not confirmed was Rule 1, which provided that every truck should be provided with brake levers on both sides, so that the brake could be applied or released from either side. This was referred back to the Board of Trade in view of the objections of the railway companies.

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