Paul Proudlock on Rail Safety
Photo by Frederic Dekkal
Paul Proudlock has been a railway man for almost 25 years. For the last several years he has also been an outspoken proponent of increasing rail safety, and one of his biggest concerns is fatigue among railway workers.
He is presently an engineer for CP Rail and is also a special representative with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference. Some of his duties with the TCRC include publicly addressing safety issues, but that can cause some friction.
In 2009 he spoke out about being asked to run a GO Train on a couple of hours of sleep and he later joked, “I was surprised I still had a job after that.” However, running something as large, fast and dangerous as a train on tracks that go through highly populated communities is no laughing matter.
He compares it to driving impaired and makes a good point. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if impaired by any means, including lack of sleep, so it seems logical to extend that requirement to engineers, conductors and anyone else working with running stock.
He is a passionate speaker on the subject and his fiery delivery matches his red hair. His passion extends to his job, as does most railroaders, and he would prefer not to be confrontational, but also feels ignoring the problem is a disservice to the entire industry.
“It’s great if the railway corporations do well, but we and they have to make sure our jobs are done right and done safely.” Concern for co-workers who have witnessed horrific accidents and been involved in near-misses is a constant motivation for him, one increased by recent rail accidents. His philosophy is, “If staff say they’re too tired to be out on a train, then they are. The working people are the answer. Listen to them.”