Mainichi Shimbun: How JR West teaches its employees about railway safety

According to Mainichi Shimbun, JR West, which operates the Sanyo Shinkansen line, unironically instills a culture of safety by making its employees sit inside a train tunnel and to get a feel of what a train passing at 300 km/h is like:

50代のベテラン男性社員によると、研修は「300キロ/h近接体感研修」と呼ばれる。

According to a veteran employee in his 50s, the training is called the “300km/h experience training.”

怖いと聞いていたため、上司に「行きたくない」と申し出たが、「順番なので」と認められなかった。

He heard it was scary and told his supervisor that he didn’t want to go. But his supervisor said: “It’s your turn now.”

当日は2班に分かれて順にトンネルに入り、ヘルメットと防護眼鏡を着けて通路内に座り、新幹線が近づくと頭を下げた。

On the day, the employees were split into two groups and each entered the tunnel. Donning helmets and safety googles, they sat in the tunnel access path, and ducked their heads when the Shinkansen train neared.

It’s supposed to be a valuable corporate learning experience:

男性社員は上下3本をやり過ごしたが「風圧がものすごく、ドンと押さえつけられるようで怖かった。研修に何の意味があるのか」と言う。

The male employee sat through three trains in each direction. He said, “The wind pressure was really strong. I felt pinned down. It was scary. Was there any meaning behind this training?

グループごとに議論し、感想を書いて研修は終了。別の日に研修を受けた同僚も「怖い」と話していたという。

After the exercise, there was a group discussion, and everyone wrote reflection papers. A colleague who received the training on a different day also said that it was scary.

Here are other corporate ideas from Japan’s world-leading railway companies (actually, both are from JR Tokai, another operator of the Shinkansen):