October 9, 2015

Confidential Close Call Reporting proving its worth


It’s confidential and no-fault. And the result, according to the Federal Railroad Administration, is a significant reduction in rail workplace derailments that too often lead to serious injury and death — plus, as a bonus, better labor/management relationships and improved operational performance. We’re talking about four pilot projects called Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), whose core value [...]

FRA mandates improved locomotive safety, comfort


WASHINGTON – A final rule on improved locomotive cab safety and comfort has been published by the Federal Railroad Administration. The final rule, affecting all new and remanufactured locomotives in road and yard service, follows collaboration among the FRA, rail labor and carriers through the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) process and becomes effective June 8. Significant in [...]

What part of ‘no’ can’t railroads understand?


Sadly, there is a part of “no” that railroads just can’t understand. So, once again, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has hit a railroad in the wallet for violating an employee’s rights as protected under the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970, which was supplemented by the Rail Safety Improvement Act [...]

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


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


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


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


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


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 [...]