October 22, 2014

Safety warning in railcar razor blade incident

A safety warning has been issued by the Association of American Railroads after a razor blade was found “strategically placed in the eye of the airbrake release rod” on a hopper car set out at an industrial plant in Baton Rouge, La.

Although the razor blade was found and removed without injury, the AAR is concerned that vandals may have sabotaged other freight or passenger cars with the intent of causing severe injury to workers who come in contact with rail equipment.

“This type of vandalism may have been perpetrated on multiple railcars that can arrive at numerous facilities across the country,” the AAR warned.

“Employees should be advised to inspect not only air brake release rods for such traps, but also safety appliances, coupler operating levers, angle cocks and any other surfaces employees may contact,” the AAR said.

Railroads have been asked to report such incidents to AAR so that the entire industry may be alerted to these acts and assist railroad police and federal law enforcement in searching for the criminal or criminals.

Train and engine workers should remain alert to this potential danger and report to carriers if they encounter a similar instance of vandalism intended to cause bodily harm.