December 18, 2014

FRA’s Szabo testifies on rail safety before STB

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Federal Railroad Administration chief Joseph Szabo testified April 10 before members of the Surface Transportation Board regarding the negative impact service degradation on the nation’s railroad network could have on rail safety and Amtrak on-time performance. His prepared oral testimony follows: Chairman Elliott and Vice Chairman Begeman, on behalf of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, thank [...]

GAO issues report on rail safety

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Railroad accidents pose significant safety risks to railroads, their employees, passengers, and the public. FRA oversees safety of the nation’s railroads. In light of three high profile accidents in 2012 involving fatalities or hazardous materials, GAO was asked to review FRA’s oversight processes and the challenges to railroad safety. This report examines (1) the overall [...]

Senators seek review of rail safety

WASHINGTON – Three senior Democratic senators have asked the General Accountability Office – informally known as the congressional watchdog – to review the state of railroad safety and how the Federal Railroad Administration, state rail safety agencies and other stakeholders cooperate to ensure the safe transportation of rail freight and passengers. The review as requested by [...]

These thefts can derail, kill and maim

As the recession takes its toll, an increased rail safety threat is emerging – the theft of rail spikes and tie plates from active railroad lines. In Woodbine, N.J., last week, police arrested four men suspected of stealing spikes and tie plates from five miles of New Jersey Transit track — used by Cape May [...]

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 #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 [...]

Rail Safety Alert #4: Documentation

The value of detailed documentation can never be overstated. UTU members have been empowered to address the issue of harassment and intimidation though federal whistleblower protection that is written into law. This protection already has had a positive impact. Recently, an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which followed information from a [...]