Assistant Editor, Safety & Health Practitioner

January 30, 2020

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Railway safety

Dutch railway staff go through emergency training to increase safety on trains

Dutch railway company, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), has partnered with G4S to design and deliver training courses for railway staff.

emergency trainingGiven that there are millions of transport users that travel by train daily in the Netherlands, the likelihood of a railway staff member encountering and needing to respond to an emergency is high.

This is why NS ensures that its 10,000 employees go through emergency first aid training and fire and evacuation safety training courses annually, to increase their knowledge in the events of an emergency, so that passengers and staff are safe.

Terrorism could be a great threat on public transport, but if staff are able to quickly notify higher security, this can minimise the situation and save lives. A recent terrorist attack at Amsterdam Central Station in August 2019, is an example of where staff were needed to act fast in alerting police, as a man stabbed two tourists but was quickly shot and stopped by police, all within nine seconds. Railway staff were called to provide emergency medical assistance, support police and safely manage a station evacuation. It is essential that the correct staff are trained for complex and dangerous circumstances, to increase safety.

Other common emergencies on the train include medical emergencies and crowd control. Rush-hour means that more injuries and near misses could occur. For NS, it is essential that their employees know how to respond in a variety of emergency scenarios to keep passengers and themselves safe, so they teamed up with G4S to design and deliver training courses, unique to each job role.

A G4S training advisor spent a long time with various teams to understand what different target groups would need, including first aid, firefighting and evacuation. Some employees also receive further specific training based on G4S’s assessment of their working location.

Pauline van den Driessche, G4S Training Advisor said: “It’s very difficult to respond to emergencies quickly and correctly if you haven’t had the appropriate training. For Nederlandse Spoorwegen, which has thousands of staff carrying out a wide variety of roles on trains, in stations, workshops and offices – each with unique risks – you can’t offer one style of training to everyone. They have very different needs, so we design each course specifically for the role in question.”

Marisha de Jong, Training Manager for NS also commented: “We determine the learning objectives ourselves. We then give those objectives to G4S who draw up the curriculum, based on the time they have spent with our different teams and their observations. These training courses are very important, because if you do not pass them you are not allowed to start working.”

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