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TASMANIA'S rail boss has hit out at motorists and pedestrians who are putting train drivers' health and safety at risk by ignoring level-crossing laws.
TasRail chief executive Damien White said a rail worker was lucky to avoid injury when several motorists completely ignored warning signals at a crossing at Granton on Friday.
The man, who was doing track inspections in a truck designed to operate on the railway tracks as well as on roads, narrowly avoided a collision when a total of seven drivers ignored the flashing lights and bells and drove across in front of his vehicle.
"The employee was badly shaken by the incident and understandably is at a loss to understand why these motorists put his life and their own lives at risk by failing to stop," Mr White said.
In another incident early last week a train driver had to slam on the emergency brakes when a pedestrian walked on to the tracks near New Town late at night.
"That person was extremely lucky to walk away unharmed, but the incident has caused harm to the health and wellbeing of the (two person) train crew, who will probably never forget what was very nearly a tragedy," Mr White said.
He said rail workers were being denied the right to go about their work "with the confidence that they will return home safely at the end of each shift".
"Too many people do not respect level-crossing laws," Mr White said.
"The message is clear be alert, obey the warning signs and signals."
Yesterday marked the start of WorkSafe Month and the State Government released figures showing that 9312 people were injured in Tasmanian workplaces last year.
Of those, 1294 worked in small businesses, with injuries to joints, ligaments, muscles or tendons the most common.
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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