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FRA warns of lapses in situational awareness
Posted By ted On October 19, 2010 @ 6:25 pm In Amtrak/Commuter,Amtrak/Commuter News,News,Washington | No Comments
Citing a series of on-duty career ending injuries and fatalities over the past 24 months that occurred on or near mainline track, the Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety advisory on the importance of situational awareness, especially when the job being performed in main track territory changes.
FRA Safety Advisory 2010-03 also includes recommendations to railroads “to ensure that these issues are addressed by appropriate policies and procedures.”
Among the recommendations is that railroads strengthen and expand to all employees, when on or near track, bans on the use of electronic devices. FRA Emergency Order 26 (soon to be made permanent) only restricts the use of cell phones and other electronic devices by on-duty train and engine workers.
Although the employees injured and killed while on or near mainline track “were all familiar with operating and safety rules,” said the FRA, “in each case, the employees’ situational awareness seems to have been degraded.” Therefore, said the FRA, “employee alertness to changing job situations could have been heightened in these situations by the act of engaging in additional job briefings.
“As the railroad industry is well aware, a job briefing should take place at the beginning of a task and anytime the task changes,” said the FRA. “Railroad operating rules and certain federal railroad safety regulations require that these job briefings take place. The job briefing can act, particularly when there is more than one person involved with the task, as a time out for the affected employees to reinforce the need to exercise vigilance and awareness in the performance of their tasks.”
Among the FRA’s recommendations to railroads:
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