December 21, 2014

Job briefings save limbs and lives

Safety 1st; Safety First

Job briefings can prevent serious injuries and fatalities, says the Federal Railroad Administration in a switching fatalities and severe injury update. The FRA cites 23 fatalities that have occurred as a result of what it terms “inadequate job briefings.” The FRA offers the following tips for “an effective job briefing”: * First, a job briefing [...]

Restricted speed: A warning not to be ignored

ComplacencyCartoon

As most railroaders can attest, there are times that procedures and operating rules set by the FRA or imposed by carriers can be difficult to understand. The language may seem vague, and the ballast-level application often is left up to interpretation, which leads to ambiguity and confusion. Other rules and procedures are crystal clear, but [...]

NTSB urges action on speed-restriction complaince

NTSB_logo

WASHINGTON – Warnings of speed violations have been issued by the National Transportation Safety Board, which urges unions, their members, carriers and the Federal Railroad Administration to work collaboratively to ensure compliance of train and engine crews with speed restrictions. The NTSB action followed its investigation of five rear-end collisions where the NTSB concluded that [...]

Yard safety: Don’t let winter claim limbs and lives

ComplacencyCartoon

We are into the season of losing limbs and lives in yard accidents. More career-ending injuries and fatalities occur during winter months – even in warmer climates – than any other season of the year. Even veteran rails – not just new yard employees — lose their situational awareness during this period, and the price [...]

FRA safety advisory on shoving movements

FRA logo

WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration, in response to inquiries about when it is permissible for an employee directing the movement to operate a motor vehicle in the context of a pushing or shoving movement, has issued the following advisory: The central concern in each situation is whether the practice violates the prohibition in the [...]

This is all about saving railroaders’ limbs and lives

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During the first six months of 2011, 37 serious injuries occurred during switching operations, resulting in three fatalities and eight amputations; while over the past two years, five rail workers have died in accidents involving rolling rail equipment. The Switching Operations Fatality Analysis (SOFA) Working Group and the UTU Rail Safety Task Force have been [...]

Situational awareness saves limbs, lives, careers

SOFA Logo

A UTU-member conductor employed by Canadian Pacific in LaCrosse, Wis., suffered a severe injury – being pinned beneath a freight car that derailed and tipped over — during a switching operation Sept. 5. The 43-year-old conductor had less than one year of service. During the first six months of 2011, 37 serious injuries occurred during [...]

OSHA putting teeth in rail whistle-blower law

OSHA logo; OSHA

For too many years, many railroads have tied managerial bonuses to low reportable injury rates among employees, creating a culture of fear through harassment and intimidation – a culture that discourages the reporting by workers of on-duty injuries and allows railroads to claim an industry safety award accompanied by glowing press releases as to its [...]

FRA’s final HOS rules for passenger, commuter service

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WASHINGTON – Passenger and commuter train conductors and engineers face new hours-of-service rules effective Oct. 15 under a final rule published Aug. 12 by the Federal Railroad Administration. The new rules differ in certain areas from hours-of-service regulations imposed on freight railroad employees. Among the differences is that passenger and commuter train hours-of-service regulations are more [...]

UTU member dies in BNSF Tulsa yard accident

Deborah Ann Beeler; Beeler; Beeler, Deborah Ann

TULSA, Okla. — A BNSF employee and UTU member was killed in a yard accident here Aug. 4 when a vehicle in which she was riding was struck by a flatcar during a hump operation, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and reported by the Tulsa World newspaper. Deborah Ann Beeler, 39, of Claremore, was pronounced [...]