July 7, 2015

GBW railcar services faces OSHA fines

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Two workers endured several weeks of skin graft surgery and physical therapy after suffering second-degree burns when gas vapors exploded in a railcar in December 2014 at GBW Railcar Services LLC. The car was being prepared for cleaning when an electric heater ignited the flammable gas. Seven other workers were treated for injuries and released [...]

FRA recommends actions to prevent speeding

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WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today issued a safety advisory recommending actions that passenger railroads take to prevent trains from speeding.  The advisory is the latest in a series of steps FRA has taken to keep passenger railroads safe for the traveling public. “Today the FRA is taking a smart and targeted approach to [...]

White House backs 2015 PTC installation deadline

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WASHINGTON – The White House on Thursday, June 4, endorsed a requirement that U.S. railroads install new safety equipment by the end of 2015, despite bipartisan efforts in Congress to give passenger and freight rail companies extra time to comply. Administration support for the deadline could lead to a showdown with lawmakers in Congress over [...]

Mo. governor vetoes right-to-work legislation

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On Thursday, June 4, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon traveled to SMART SMD Local 36 in St. Louis to veto a toxic right-to-work for less bill passed by that state’s legislature. With a fired up crowd of hundreds of onlookers, he noted that “For generations, the ability of workers to join together and bargain collectively for fair [...]

Neb. Legislature resolves: two-person crews are safer

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In the final week of legislative session, the Nebraska legislature officially recommended that railroad locomotives should have a two-person crew.  According to the resolution – LR 338 — safety risks posed by shipments of such materials as ethanol, Bakkan crude oil and chlorine could be reduced by requiring a train crew of at least two individuals.  [...]

FAA implements new airport safety program

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The FAA has made significant progress in improving runway safety at U.S. airports over the past 15 years by working with other members of the aviation community on education, training, marking and lighting, standard runway safety areas, new technology and airfield improvements. The FAA plans to build on that success by working with airport sponsors [...]

DOT rules on vehicle electronic stability control

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced today that the Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has finalized its rule requiring electronic stability control (ESC) systems on heavy trucks and large buses (FMVSS No. 136). “ESC is a remarkable safety success story, a technology innovation that is already saving lives in passenger cars and light [...]

SMART TD Head of PR Rob Zanath passes away

Rob Zanath

Robert J. Zanath, 50, died May 28 at University Hospitals of a brain aneurysm. He was surrounded by his family at the time of his passing. Zanath was born Sept. 10, 1964. After graduating from Padua Franciscan High School in Parma, Ohio, he attended Kent State University and then graduated from Cleveland State University with [...]

Union Pacific furloughs 900 train crew employees

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Union Pacific Corp. said it has placed about 900 train crew employees on furlough or alternative work status to align its work force with current market conditions and demand. The railroad employs about 47,000 people across its system, 8,000 in Nebraska. Union Pacific Corp. also has mothballed locomotives as its transport volumes run 4 percent [...]

Amtrak crash quells railroads’ effort to reduce crews

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The Amtrak crash that killed eight people this month raised questions of the safety of one-engineer trains, thwarting the idea of reducing freight crews for now, Union Pacific Corp. Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said. While cargo operators would save money with a single person in the cab instead of two people, that argument will be a [...]