August 28, 2016

FRA clarifies “Smartwatch” Rule – Fitbits restricted

The question? May an employee wear a device like a “Garmin Vivofit” or “Fitbit” wristband that acts like a watch, and counts the steps that an individual takes each day?  The devices are not searching for the internet, or Wifi, to do this and must be synchronized with Bluetooth on a separate device. The devices […]

Boston transit toughens staff cellphone policy

Boston’s public bus drivers and train conductors can now be fired for simply bringing a cell phone to work, according to a new policy that transit officials say is the toughest of its kind in the nation. The rule was announced by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Monday a month after a public bus […]

Effective peer-to-peer ‘in-cab communication’ is key

In-cab communication is an essential element in overall railroad safety. Too many fatal accidents and injuries have been attributed to a lack of or insufficient “in-cab communications.” Peer-to-peer interaction is the key component to effective in-cab communications, according to the UTU’s Rail Safety Task Force. Everyone knows someone who can benefit from peer-to-peer interaction. Post-accident […]

Engineer says cell phone not factor in crash

The engineer of one of two ore trains that crashed head-on just outside of Two Harbors, Minn., in 2010 is taking issue with the National Transportation Safety Board report on the accident, disputing that cell phone use by the train crews was a relevant factor. In an exclusive interview with the News-Chronicle Feb. 20, Dan […]

2012 safest year in railroad history

Last year was the safest year in the history of the railroad industry, based on performance measures tracked by the Federal Railroad Administration. For the fifth fiscal year in a row, the industry has improved on all six of the FRA’s official safety performance measures, including the rate of grade crossing incidents, human factor-caused train […]

Distractions kill, maim and end careers

Distractions occur everywhere in our daily lives, but when those in safety sensitive positions are distracted on the job, the results too often result in death or career-ending injuries. A collaborative effort among the Federal Railroad Administration, rail labor and carriers has been launched to educate and raise awareness through peer-to-peer programs of the dangers […]

Court: Cab cams don’t violate privacy

LOS ANGELES — A lawsuit brought by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen against Los Angeles Metrolink to eliminate inward-facing video cameras in the cab has been dismissed by a judge here. Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin said the inward-facing cameras, which monitor crew activities in the cab, do not violate privacy rights, reports […]

Safety Task Force alert: Electronic device ban

The Federal Railroad Administration’s permanent ban on use of electronic devices, including cellphones, became effective March 28. Please make careful note of the following: In the event of a collision, derailment or fatality, one of the first actions taken by National Transportation Safety Board investigators is pull the phone records of all crew members involved. […]

Rail cellphone ban permanent March 28

The Federal Railroad Administration’s ban on the use of cellphones and other electronic devices — personal and carrier-issued — becomes permanent Monday, March 28. The ban applies to all on-duty train crew members. Don’t let a railroad or federal safety inspector make an example of you in proving a dedication to enforcement of the ban. […]

A ‘ring, ring’ may cost you your job

The Federal Railroad Administration has a stark message for rail workers with safety-related duties: Only use your cell phone when allowed or you could lose your job. Emergency Order No. 26, which went into effect in October 2008, restricts the use by train crews and others in safety-sensitive positions of cell phones and other electronic […]