April 18, 2014

Restricted speed: A warning not to be ignored

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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 [...]

Situational awareness saves limbs, lives, careers

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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 [...]

UTU DIPP: Above all, ‘peace of mind’

By General Secretary & Treasurer Kim Thompson We are all familiar with employers imposing unwarranted discipline and even dismissal on employees. A member survey by the UTU’s Rail Safety Task Force revealed that more than 50 percent of train, engine and yard workers cite supervisor harassment and excessive operational testing as distracting them from situational [...]

Rail safety concerns voiced by UTU members

Train and engine workers are the eyes and ears of railroads — the first to spot trouble, and the first to suffer when trouble occurs. On railroads, trouble too often means career-ending injuries and death. The UTU Rail Safety Task Force was created by UTU International President Mike Futhey to develop strategies to reduce rail-employee [...]

Rail Safety Alert No. 6

(The following is a security alert from the UTU’s Rail Safety Task Force.) Rail security remains a constant threat to the nation’s railroads and our members. President Futhey wrote of this concern in a recent leadership message, “We need training to spot trouble.” Based on recent events, the UTU’s Rail Safety Task Force strongly encourages [...]

Rail Safety Alert #5: No mental vacations

The 24 days between Dec. 22 and Jan. 14 have proven the most deadly for railroad workers. More fatalities and career-ending injuries occur during this calendar period than any other. With the holiday season upon us, we owe it to ourselves and our families to keep the season joyous and free from needless sorrow. Safety [...]

Solving problems through a positive approach

By Assistant President Arty Martin Viewers of the cable television sitcom, Fawlty Towers, may recall an episode in which Basil Fawlty (played by John Cleese) beat his broken-down car with a branch, blaming the car rather than his own failure to maintain it. Being too negatively focused on a problem rather than identifying and pursuing [...]

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 3

Career-ending personal injuries and fatalities have continued to increase in the rail industry. To educate members on the circumstances of these incidents, and in attempts to avoid them in the future, the UTU Rail Safety Task Force, appointed by International President Mike Futhey, urges that each of you continue to look out for each other [...]

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 2

This is the second in a series of safety alerts issued by the UTU Rail Safety Task Force. The task force was appointed by International President Mike Futhey in response to a spike in railroad on-duty employee fatalities. This safety alert focuses on the job of protecting the point while riding rail cars. In such [...]

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 1 (revised)

UTU Rail Safety Alert No. 1 (revised) (Following is the first safety alert, revised June 22, issued by the UTU’s recently appointed Rail Safety Task Force. UTU International President Mike Futhey appointed the task force in response to a sharp spike in railroad on-duty employee fatalities. The UTU and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and [...]