The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)
Royalty's Interest In Safety First.
His Royal Highness the Duke of York's interest in the Safety First movement is well known. After acting for three years as President of the London Safety First Council, he graciously consented to become Patron of the National Safety First Association-an organisation which numbers amongst its vice-presidents some of the most noted men in British industry and public life.
The third annual report of the Association which is just to hand, besides containing ample evidence of the steady progress of the Association's work in the field of industrial and public safety, contains a report of the Duke of York's appeal at the last annual dinner. In the course of his speech, the Duke affirmed the principles of Safety First to be “common sense and thought for others; principles which, if well and truly applied, would go far to solve, not only the accident problem, but many other ills from which all nations were suffering.” He went on to say that by training people to think more deeply before they acted the Association would be helping to prevent accidents ofother kinds than those which figured on their programme. “Let me” concluded the Duke “remind all my listeners that this is a sound, common-sense movement for the preservation of life and limb. There can be no nobler ideal; no higher form of service.”
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In her recently published and very interesting “Lay Sermons” Margot Asquith, the distinguished wife of Britain's former Prime Minister, makes the following important observations on carelessness: “If you probe the matter at all profoundly,” she says, “you will find half the troubles, most of the accidents and many of the catastrophes come from carelessness. Carelessness is a difficult word to analyse. It belongs to no particular category, and may be found equally distributed among the clever and the stupid, the weak and the strong, the drab and the famous and men who have or have not got either character, intellect or soul. It does not come from lack of intellect; some of the most profound thinkers, the most learned philosophers, and the greatest professors have been notorious for their absence of mind.”
No one is perhaps more constantly reminded of the truth of the widespread nature of carelessness (and of the price that has to be paid for it) than the railwayman. It is the recognition of this flaw in the mental constitution of man which is at once the justification and the inspiration of the “Safety First” movement. By concentrating on this problem of carelessness as the primary cause of accidents-to ourselves and others-we are performing a service which brings benefit to ourselves, our families, our fellows, to the Department we serve, and to the community as a whole.
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The methods adopted by progressive railways for promoting safety amongst their employees are as interesting as they are varied. Safety competitions between one department and another, safety talks and discussions on the subject of accident prevention, and the extensive use of safety posters designed to feature in a graphic manner dangerous practices which should be avoided, are some of the methods employed. A variation of the safety competition method, and one which is calculated to achieve good results, is the recent provision by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railway, of flags, on which the words “No accidents this month” are printed, the flags being raised over each shop and engine-shed on the system on the first day of each month. When an accident (as defined by the Interstate Commerce Commission) occurs in any shop or engine-shed, the flag is immediately hauled down until the first of the following month.
Fine Appreciation of N. Z. Railway
Studios Art Work.
Among the visitors to New Zealand by the “Franconia” last year was Mr. Emil Bommer of New York.
Mr. Bommer is a manufacturer in that city, and controls a large iron trading concern. During his travels over the New Zealand Railways his attention was attracted by one advertisement in particular, and he sent the subjoined sketch and request (written on the back of his business card) to the Officer in Charge in order to mark his appreciation. He also called at the Studios to personally congratulate Mr. S. Davis, the artist responsible for the design, which he considered to be the finest he had seen in all his travels.
Safety Advice from President
With the object of stimulating interest in the work of the Safety Section of the American Railway Association in educating the motor driving public to exercise the utmost caution before driving over level crossings, President Coolidge recently made an appeal to all concerned in a letter sent to the Chairman of the Association. The letter, which bears the date March 24th, 1927, refers to the “important and creditable task” with which the Association is occupied in its endeavours to lesson the number of fatalities and injuries at level crossings throughout the United States.
The loss of 2,492 persons, and injuries to 6,991 others in the year 1926 in crossing accidents (says Mr. Coolidge), demonstrates the need of more care and caution. “Unquestionably the railroads must be required to give ample warning of the approach of trains to highway crossings, and throw around the highway traveller at such crossings suitable safeguards, appropriate to the volumn of traffic.
“With equal force there must be public recognition of the need of a very high degree of care on the part of motorists approaching and passing over railroad crossings. If that care which prudence dictates is exercised at crossings by all users of highways, then we shall surely curb the increasing tragedies… It is my earnest wish that all motorists…. exercise that skill, judgment, and caution which assures safety at grade crossings.”
The railway injunction to “Stop, Look, and Listen!” before driving or walking over a level crossing, offers a surer guarantee of safety than crossing gates, or mechanical warning devices. It is all to the good to have the lesson of caution in this important matter so strongly stated by the President of the United States.
Sir Henry Thornton Thanks the Staff.
Thus Sir Henry Thornton, Chairman and President of the Canadian National Railways:
The directors feel that the remarkably good operating results obtained in 1926 could not have been attained except through the wholehearted efforts of officers and employees working in thorough harmony for a common cause, and are very glad to acknowledge the inestimable value of the excellent esprit de corps which obtains throughout the system, and to express their thanks for the loyal service rendered by officers and employees.