First Line of Defence

Incidents of verbal and physical assaults and threats on railroad industry employees more than doubled from 2001 to 2005. This article discusses how train operating companies can reduce the number of these types of assaults. It is suggested that companies implement and promote measures that emphasize conflict avoidance. Conflict avoidance training should emphasize the importance of effective incident reporting and teach actual conflict avoidance techniques. Simplified reporting procedures also should be developed that would persuade employees to inform management of assaults. In order to demonstrate to employees that reporting leads to positive results, a "reporting back" mechanism needs to be employed to show any progress with arrests and prosecutions. Transportation companies should work with management staff, police and unions to handle high-profile attacks in order to show employees and would-be offenders that violent behavior will be punished. Detailed analysis of previous incidents should be undertaken to reveal hotspots and vulnerable groups or individuals. The installation of closed circuit television can also serve as a deterrent. These measures can not only help reduce incidents of conflict, but also improve staff morale. The article highlights the example of one company that has developed innovative and successful programs for reducing assaults on staff, including the use of DNA testing to identify offenders in spitting attacks and a public awareness campaign.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01046573
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 1 2007 9:41PM