December 21, 2014

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 [...]

The shameful state of bus-safety advances

WASHINGTON — Observing that her five-year-old soccer-mom van contains safety technology more advanced than is integrated into many motor coaches, National Transportation Safety Board Chairperson Deborah Hersman March 30 chided Congress and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for dragging their feet on bus safety legislation and regulation. Hersman testified before the Senate Transportation Subcommittee [...]

UTU seeks worker protection from hazmat

WASHINGTON — A doubling in the number of damaged or leaking hazardous materials containers shipped by rail has prompted the UTU and six other rail labor organizations to petition the Federal Railroad Administration for enhanced safety standards to protect rail workers and the public. Rail labor is concerned that the FRA routinely grants special permission [...]