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"Safety First" Applies to You


Keenest intellects have moments of perceptive somnolence


Grand Trunk Station Agent Simmons has received a communication from the superintendent of the inter-department correspondence department, in which the superintendent says: "The question of persons trespassing on railway property was brought up in our last "Safety First" meeting, and it was stated that at your station more or less trespassing by outside parties was going on." He proceeds to explain what should be done by employees of the railway to prevent the enormous loss of life recorded each year from the fact that the public is allowed to walk on railway tracks.

Officers and employees of the Grand Trunk Railway are trying by every means in their power to prevent injuries to all persons—patrons, employees and others. But on looking into this subject, they find that more than one-half of all persons killed on railways in Canada and the United States are killed while trespassing on railway property. In this way in these two countries, fifteen persons are killed and about the same number injured for every day in the year.

Perhaps you may think that the 11,000 or more persons meeting with casualties every year while trespassing on railways are tramps or hoboes; but the fact is that 80% of them are useful citizens. Men walking on tracks to and from their places of work or business, children playing on tracks or jumping on cars comprise the greater part of this shameful slaughter.

To most people it seldom occurs that in walking on tracks they are taking any particular risk. It seems so easy to see or hear a train, and when one thinks about the subject at all, he likely concludes that while others have been caught, he will be more vigilant and escape.

There is the crux of the whole question. Others may not hear a train approaching but "I" would be sure to notice it. "I" am very keen of hearing; "I" notice everything around me "all the time." Only psychologists and those who have made some study of the human brain know what a fool's paradise is that attitude. The brightest intellect ever known could be detracted, on occasion, by the slightest preoccupation. Did you ever set yourself to the task of remembering a trifling little thing—an incidental message, a remark, an address, or any small inconsequential thing—and afterwards find to your astonishment that it has slipped your mind until too late? That proves the elusiveness of that subtle something called thought. Have you ever had your mind concentrated on something you wished to do when suddenly some trifling little incident—the sight of some familiar object, or even the scent of a fragrant flower, displaced the thought? Every grandmother has been known to look for her specks when they were on her forehead, and countless thousands of people do just as silly little things every day. These things all show lapse of thought. The really bright minds are those that are capable of great powers of concentration. The ability to concentrate is the ability to shut out the influence of other senses. One who habitually concentrates his attention on the things of the moment is the one who makes the greatest success in life—until perhaps through the very little thing that has given him success he is overtaken by an accident by being preoccupied with something deemed of greater importance. The more frequently we walk on a railway right-of-way the easier it is to forget that we are there at all. Only the greatest necessity compensates for the risk taken in going on railway property.

Those injured and killed in this way are not the only ones who suffer. Their families, being deprived of their earning power, are called upon to bear a large share of the burden. The public is deprived of the services of this large army of persons, and in a great percentage of cases are compelled to contribute to the care and maintenance of such persons and dependent members of their families.

In view, therefore, of these facts, and in the interest of public safety, every person is earnestly requested not to walk on or along railroad tracks, both on account of his own safety and for the sake of setting a good example to others. We ask parents to call this subject to the attention of their children and instruct them as to the danger of walking or playing on or about tracks.

In this connection let us also call attention to another source of injury which is quite common, due to failure of persons to stop and look in both directions for approaching trains when about to cross tracks at highways and other places. Remember that trains may move on any track at any time. We do not believe that any person is so busy that he cannot take the few seconds before crossing a track to make sure that there is no approaching train.

"Safety First" applies to you—to everybody.

[Public Domain] Copyright/Licence: This work was first published in 1960 or earlier, and the author of the work was anonymous. To the best of my knowledge, the author of the work was unknown at the end of the year 50 years after the work was published, meaning that this work would be in the public domain in Canada, per section 6.2 of the Copyright Act. Note also this link. See disclaimers.