April 21, 2015

Situational awareness saves limbs, lives, careers

SOFA Logo

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 [...]

NTSB: Latest safety recommendations

WASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board has updated its “Most Wanted” transportation safety improvements. Included are recommendations for improved bus, rail and aviation safety. Following are the NTSB’s comments of interest to UTU members: Fatigue Airplanes, buses and trains are complex machines that require the full attention of the operator, maintenance person and other [...]

Safety warning in railcar razor blade incident

A safety warning has been issued by the Association of American Railroads after a razor blade was found “strategically placed in the eye of the airbrake release rod” on a hopper car set out at an industrial plant in Baton Rouge, La. Although the razor blade was found and removed without injury, the AAR is [...]

Pay, benefits keys to better bus safety

Calvin Studivant

By Calvin StudivantAlternate vice president, Bus Department Fatigue management was a topic of significant importance earlier this month at a National Transportation Safety Board forum I attended in Washington, D.C. The troubling news from the forum is that non-union bus operators, employed by so-called low-cost carriers, are being forced to work too many hours, with [...]

Safety a victim in China’s high-speed rail effort

China’s effort to lead the world in high-speed rail development appears to be moving forward at the expense of safety, reports The Washington Post. The Chinese government, reports the newspaper, has ordered all high-speed trains to reduce their top speed from some 220 mph to 186 mph, calling safety concerns of those trains “severe.” Reportedly, [...]

We are fighting for safer crew vans

By UTU International President Mike Futhey In a horrendous March accident in Kelso, Wash., a conductor trainee and a locomotive engineer were killed when the carrier-provided shuttle van in which they were riding was struck by a moving train at a private highway-rail grade crossing. A second conductor was critically injured and the van driver [...]

Help FRA stop harassment; improve safety

Safety 1st; Safety First

By FRA Associate Administrator for Safety Jo Strang The Federal Railroad Administration’s Risk Reduction Program is a voluntary industry-wide initiative to reduce accidents and injuries and build a strong safety culture by expanding the toolkit to analyze and manage risk. Eventually, these assessments will complement other programs such as safety inspections of railcars and injury [...]

‘Safety’ is middle name of UTU D.C. legislative director

For UTU District of Columbia Legislative Director Willie Bates the recognition and honors keep rolling in. The latest is from the State of Virginia, which on April 7 bestowed upon Bates the Governor’s Transportation Safety Award in the category of rail safety. His accomplishments in earning the award speak for themselves: Volunteering as a mentor, [...]

FRA issues switching safety advisory

WASHINGTON — A new safety advisory applying to switching operation hazards has been issued by the Federal Railroad Administration. The advisory focuses on federal federal regulations and railroad operating rules governing procedures for leaving rolling equipment in the clear of adjacent tracks. It was issued in response to two recent incidents where railroad employees were [...]

UTU to Congress: Eliminate fatigue, boost safety

WASHINGTON — The single most important action Congress and the Federal Railroad Administration can take to improve rail safety — especially in the movement of hazardous materials — is to eliminate train-crew fatigue and provide predictable start times for train crews. That was the message delivered April 7 to the House Railroad Subcommittee by UTU [...]