April 19, 2014

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

fatalities_graph_2

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

FRA logo

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 [...]

Yard accident claims UTU member

Andres Tapia; Tapia; Local 1597

CHICAGO — A Belt Railway of Chicago switchman and UTU member with three years’ service was crushed to death between two rail cars in a hump yard here just after midnight July 25. Andres Tapia, 34, a member of UTU Local 1597 (Chicago), and working a two-person remote control assignment, reportedly was found between the two [...]

UTU to Congress: ‘Get serious on security’

John Risch; Risch; Testifying; Court; July 2011; Risch Testifying

WASHINGTON — America learned a tragic lesson a decade ago when armed terrorists gained entry to the flight decks of multiple commercial airliners. The results of 9/11 will live in infamy. Inexplicably, neither railroads nor the federal government has moved to require the securing of locomotive cab doors and windows to prevent terrorists – whether foreign or [...]

Conductor cert, passenger HOS regs on tap

Strang, Jo; Jo Strang

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration will soon publish final rules instituting conductor certification and imposing new hours-of-service limitations on intercity passenger-train and commuter employees in safety sensitive positions. FRA Associate Administrator for Safety Jo Strang made the announcement at the UTU’s regional meeting June 21 in San Antonio, Texas. She observed that since former [...]

Help FRA stop harassment; improve safety

Safety 1st; Safety First

By FRA Associate Administrator for Safety Jo Strang The Federal Railroad Administration’s Risk Reduction Program is a voluntary industry-wide initiative to reduce accidents and injuries and build a strong safety culture by expanding the toolkit to analyze and manage risk. Eventually, these assessments will complement other programs such as safety inspections of railcars and injury [...]