Railway worker awarded MBE after transforming trackside safety and raising more than £1m for charity: Brian Paynter has been awarded an MBE

Tuesday 13 Oct 2020

Railway worker awarded MBE after transforming trackside safety and raising more than £1m for charity

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western

A Network Rail project director has been awarded an MBE, as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s list, for his incredible charity fundraising efforts and for his dedication to safety in the rail industry.

Brian Paynter, 49, has been celebrated for dedicating more than 30 years of his life to transforming the rail industry’s approach to safety, steering the improvement of standards and conditions for track workers across the UK.

When a colleague suffered a cardiac arrest on one of his sites, Brian became passionate about the provision of defibrillators across the network. Due to his dedication to the cause, Network Rail now has defibrillators available at all track worksites, within a 90 second walk from anywhere on site, getting it to a person in need within a potentially, life-changing 180 seconds. 

Brian has also been recognised for his efforts to help train his colleagues to be able to deal with track-side emergencies. Inspired by the response to the Manchester Arena attack, Brian led a Safety & Immediate Treatment (SIT) campaign, which covers what to do as the first responder at the scene of an incident. Initially only meant for his team, this course has since been rolled out to more than 1,000 colleagues and led to a 30% reduction in the number of lost-time injuries for track workers.

The dad-of-one, from Penarth, has also kept a strong focus on health and wellbeing as part of his effort to improve staff welfare. He was one of the first to recognise the impact of fatigue on the mind and body, which led to him proactively developing a scheme to address the issue; winning him the award for Rail Staff Safety Person of the Year 2014 for his work.

It's not just safety that drives Brian: he's tireless about helping the community. 

Brian’s experiences growing up inspired him to help those less fortunate than himself and he's been a devoted fundraiser for the Railway Children, It's in the Bag, Shelter Cymru, Clic Sargent and the NSPCC for many years. Over the last 10 years, Brian has worked with friends and colleagues to raise more than £1.2m for these charities that are very close to his heart.

Brian was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2019, but his treatment hasn't curbed his enthusiasm for work and helping others, and it has inspired him to talk openly about the impacts of cancer with friends, family and colleagues.

Brian said: “I never seek recognition or accolade for anything I do as I just do what feels right.

“I do feel a little awkward and embarrassed by it all but it has been really nice to read all tbhe positive messages from friends, family and colleagues and on social media.

“It’s been a tough year for us all and I have had the cancer battle too, so telling my mum and my daughter about the award is the proudest thing I will ever do.

“My mum was in tears and my daughter, who is only just 16, thinks it is hilarious.

“I turned 49 this month so this really is a birthday honour in two ways!”

Network Rail Wales & Western, route managing director, Mark Langman said: “Brian has dedicated so much of his working life to keeping his colleagues safe and so much of his personal life to raising money for charity. It is such an incredible achievement to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List and, I have to say,

"I am not surprised to see Brian honoured in this way. His determination, through some difficult times, has delivered incredible results and he is a fantastic example to us all at Network Rail. Congratulations, Brian.”

Brian is one of six current Network Rail employees to be recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, along with one former employee. Simon Constable, Dave Williams, Gareth Mallion, Chris Conway, Phil Graham and Nasir Khan have been honoured for their professional and incredible response to the Covid-19 pandemic, valuable work in their communities and a strong dedication to safety and diversity in the rail industry.

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