When Jason Olejnik thought up an all-weather computer tablet to log welding records on major upgrades, his employer John Holland Rail embraced the idea.
Olejnik, 33, a track supervisor, says the training offered by the company and increased responsibilities gave him confidence to put forward his idea, a new process that will ensure more accurate and timely recordings of safety-crucial welding jobs.
A concreter since he left school, Olejnik moved to welding about eight years ago, and has been an employee of John Holland Rail for more than four years. He now holds a Certificate IV in Frontline Management.
“Often we are working at night and in the rain and paper records get messy or lost, and the weld returns are often not done correctly,” Olejnik says. “I’d been around welding a long time, for many years, and knew there were a lot of issues.
“So at John Holland I came up with the idea of using a tablet, but knew it had to be durable in all weather like ones used by military: basically, something that would still work if you dropped it.
“Once we have this we’ll be able to email returns straight to the client from site.”
Once the rail is cut, we just don’t stop, rain, hail or shine.
His job is logistically challenging and costly, repairing and installing rail works on busy city rail links with delays potentially costing up to $100,000 a minute.
Each fix requires weeks of planning, with strict time limits on when tasks can be done, usually at off-peak times such as weekends involving around-the-clock work from 2am on Saturdays till 3pm on Sundays with 10-hour unbroken shifts.
“Once the rail is cut, we just don’t stop, rain, hail or shine,” Olejnik says.
“It’s a challenge, especially when you have just two days to install a big cross-over and have the track up and running for passengers early Monday morning. “This is not an easy job and not suited to everyone. At times it can be stressful and physically demanding, but for me I’ve found it really grows on you.” And he has a new appreciation for track building and geometry. “When I’m in a train, I now think a lot more about things; you go over a bump, you know what it is. You can only learn so much in a classroom, but a lot more out there doing the job.”
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