April 17, 2014

FRA cautions rails about flat switching operations

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WASHINGTON – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) May 3 issued an industry-wide safety advisory to warn about safety hazards associated with flat switching operations on railroads. Since 2009, six railroad employees sustained fatal injuries placing themselves between unsecured rolling equipment during switching operations, including one employee who was killed last year. “Safety is our highest [...]

Ethanol safety seminars to be held through July

Two ethanol safety seminars are being held in Ohio this week hosted by The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. The first safety seminar will be held Wednesday, April 24, at the American Red Cross in Akron, Ohio, and the second is to be held in Canton, Ohio, at the auditorium [...]

FRA issues new report on fatigue

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The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a new report on the status of fatigue among railroad industry employees. In 2001, the FRA began examining the fatigue status of safety-critical railroad employees by using logbooks to collect work and sleep data over a period of two weeks from a representative sample of employees in each group. [...]

Szabo: Rail investment spurs manufacturers

The following message was sent to the UTU National Legislative Office from Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo: In his State of the Union Address last week, President Obama spoke about the importance of investing in our infrastructure as a path to create new jobs and lay a foundation for America’s economic success. In the last [...]

2012 safest year in railroad history

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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 [...]

FRA: Intensive conductor training essential

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One of the strongest studies validating the need for two-person crews and intensive training for conductors has come from the Federal Railroad Administration. The conclusion is that the conductor and engineer function as a team, with managing multiple priorities essential to safe train operation – especially with regard to use of positive train control technology [...]

FRA to allow paperwork reduction

Three actions announced by the FRA this month are intended to eliminate out-of-date duplicative paperwork for smaller railroads, as well as for engineers seeking dual engineer and conductor certification.  Among the changes proposed: * Streamlining the process for certifying locomotive engineers by  allowing engineers to use a single medical certificate for both the conductor and engineer [...]

Every tool in use to protect members’ jobs, safety

Mike Futhey

Delivering on the theme of the 2012 regional meetings – “We will not back down” – UTU International President Mike Futhey told more than 1,000 attendees at the Memphis meeting how the UTU is using every tool available – negotiations, legislative and legal — to defend its members’ jobs and workplace safety. * On the [...]

FRA, OSHA to coordinate safety complaints

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Following almost 1,000 complaints from rail workers that they were improperly disciplined for reporting injuries or unsafe working conditions, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have forged an alliance to bring more pressure on railroads to stop the pattern of harassment and intimidation. “The safety of railroad employees depends on [...]

Passenger rail essential as population grows

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By Joe Szabo – Federal Railroad Administrator It seems like just yesterday, as UTU Illinois state legislative director and mayor of Riverdale, Ill., that I joined other mayors to successfully advocate for more frequent rail service from Chicago to downstate Illinois communities.  At the time, even that modest goal seemed daunting, as conventional wisdom said Americans [...]