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Death by retirement

It's sad to hear that Network Rail has withdrawn its support for the Track Safety Strategy Group (TSSG ), for reasons known only unto them. There's more on this in the Safety Valve section.

As TSSG is sent into retirement, maybe now is the time to put down some of my thoughts on the subject. Retirement, that is.

On the first morning after retiring you wake up and think “I've got all day to myself. No work. No train to catch. No deadlines to meet. No pressure. No worries.” In fact, no problems at all.

So you spend the day spoiling yourself - planning, thinking, sorting out what you will do with the rest of your life.

For the next couple of months, you stay in bed for an extra five minutes each morning, telling yourself that’s there is no good reason for you to be up and about. You've spent the last half-century enslaved to the alarm clock so now its pay back time. You're in charge of your own destiny.

Or so you think!

Very soon a new rostering regime establishes itself, which starts with popping out for a paper. Then it takes in “get me a bottle of milk and a loaf” and “pop this in the post as you're passing”. You weren’t passing actually, but you nod and comply.

Before you realise it, you have a workload. You have a purpose.

But you have no protection! There's no Health and Safety representative to look out for your interests. You are on your own!

Of all the groups who have statistics gathered about their Health and Safety, the largest and most vunerable has been forgotten. And I have just joined it. It's a well known fact that the fatality rate amongst retirees is higher than any other group. So let's try and find out why.
It's a well known fact that the fatality rate amongst retirees is higher than any other group.

Take a simple trip into any town centre, along the pavement - the civilian's cess.

No need to sit a PTS course - it's taken as read that, as an adult, I will have a good sound knowledge of my environment.

No need for the help and protection of a COSS.

No need for a lookout man or green zone.

Not even HV clothing, protective boots or a hard hat.

No yellow front to cars, lorries and buses. And they don’t have a headlight showing even though they all have them fitted.

Taxis are in the bus lane. Cyclists are in the pedestrian precinct. Pavements are awash with skateboards and high speed invalid carriages attempting to break the land speed record.

I make my way along the pavement like a contestant in Strictly Come Dancing, weaving past badly parked cars and vans, and dodging prams pushed by women in a world of their own - with one hand welded to the side of their head, shouting into a mobile at someone probably two streets away!

Maybe retired members of TSSG may wish to consider joining PSSG (Pavement Safety Strategy Group), with the aim of improving the health, safety and welfare of pedestrians.

Network Rail doesn’t see the need for a ginger group to keep the railway's suits in check. But maybe Britain's Town Halls would benefit from a little practical experience of our roadside access routes.

It looks like pavements need a cess just as much as the permanent way.

Story added 1st June 2006

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