Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator, ONRSR, experienced significant breaches of worksite protection rules and procedures in 2016 and 2017. Serious incidents continued to rise in 2018 prompting ONRSR to contract ACT with the aim of decreasing risk by improving safety culture.

The national tour combined the innovation of industrial live theatre with expert facilitation. Participants from ONRSR branches and rail and infrastructure organisations in Queensland, Victoria, NSW, WA, Tasmania and South Australia were moved by the emotional story of a trackworker’s paralysis and subsequent struggle during a performance of The Family. Going back in time to before the incident in ACT 2, audiences understood the impact of poor workplace culture, then how to make a difference.

Organisations subsequently delivered the project to hundreds of trackworkers internally.

Pausing between scenes to embed learning, the facilitator posed the following questions; What in your life would change if you were in a wheelchair? How would it affect your work, your relationships, your future?

Forming small groups, participants were asked to list the safety issues from the areas of plant, process and people. Acceptable risk perception was addressed with the analogy of texting
while driving. It’s illegal and dangerous and yet people still do it. Why? Because people individually judge the risk and deem it to be low. In the event of unforeseeable circumstance, however, these actions can lead to tragic outcomes. Participants voiced their own experiences of near misses as part of discussions.

The workshop then moved to empower track workers and managers with the
tools and confidence to discuss safety issues. Here participants were challenged and taken out of their comfort zone and into the sweet spot of discomfort where they could learn.
Forum theatre made participants interact with the characters and ask questions in ways the characters

felt comfortable to answer. Character responses were then examined, and the questions adjusted to establish trust. A quality conversation involves correct tone of voice, and body language, and the setting of a common goal i.e. we all want to deliver this job on time, on budget, and keep everyone safe.

Amendments included;

• Transforming the question from closed to open,

• Avoiding intimidation,increasing trust

• Removing judgment, and

• Strengthening common goals to find better ways to move forward.

These tweaks and the tool of the 5 Steps enabled the conversation to progress and lead to correct analysis of the issue. Participants then rewrote scenes with revised conversations and actions – the replay allowing the characters to avoid tragedy, empowering the participants to realize they could make the difference and avoid the incident.

This production is available with 2 weeks notice for a single production or 4 weeks for a national tour, multiple workshops. We customise to your program eg Zero Harm, or alternative and can manage all logistics. To enquire please contact sofia.fw@actaustralia.net.au .

VIEW THE FAMILY FLYER