Friday, September 26, 2014

NTSB Special Investigation Report, Looks at Recent Surge in Railroad Worker Deaths

© Tremblay
Earlier this week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a special investigation report on the recent increase in railroad and rail transit roadway workers fatalities on, or near, tracks.

The Special Investigation Report on Railroad and Rail Transit Roadway Worker Protection details 14 of the 15 fatal incidents in 2013. An increasing number of railroad fatalities over the past three years prompted the NTSB to look more closely at the issue of roadway worker safety and to recommend actions to address these issues.

According to the agency, railroad and rail transit roadway workers are subject to a unique set of on-the-job risks and hazards. In 2013, 11 deaths resulted from freight railroads incidents and four were on commuter or transit railways. The average number of railroad worker fatalities has fluctuated but has remained about 6.4 per year from 1990 to 2013.

Among the report's findings are that comprehensive job briefings could help prevent incidents and that national inspection protocols for work activities are necessary to ensure the safety of roadway workers. The agency has issued recommendations calling for additional training, harmonization of standards, a national inspection program and greater stakeholder participation in roadway worker fatalities, among other measures.

Click here to view an abstract of the report.