Last week was Rail Safety Week throughout North America. This special week was instituted by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2017 to raise awareness of safety conditions surrounding railroad tracks and crossings. The week-long campaign is sponsored by Operation Lifesaver, Inc. which is a non-profit organization focused on rail safety education. Its mission is to prevent injury and death on and around the nation’s railroad tracks and crossings. Rail Safety Week is a collaborative effort between Operation Lifesaver, Inc., and other federal and state organizations, to bring rail safety education directly to the public.
Unfortunately, the education programs of Rail Safety Week focus mainly on grade-crossing accidents and rail safety as it pertains to the general public. What is left out is a concern for the frontline railroad workers operating on those railroad tracks every day. The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) has spoken out urging railroads and their safety partners, like Operation Lifesaver, to expand their reach to increase the safety and protection for railroad employees working on and around those railroad tracks. The TTD, a coalition of 37 unions representing transportation workers throughout the country and representing every major rail union in America, issued the following press release, stating: “Every year, thousands of lives are claimed in rail crossing and trespassing incidents across the country. While we strive to get this number down to zero, we must also commit to the same safety goals for rail workers who are severely or fatally injured while on the job.”
Tragically, the outset of Rail Safety Week was marred by the death of a CSX carman in Walbridge Ohio last weekend. The railroad worker, 56-year-old Frederick M. Anderson Jr., of Waterville, Ohio was struck and killed by a remote-control operated train. The incident again has called into question remote-control train operations used in many rail yards by CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific and every other major railroad in the nation. Union leaders have called for a review of the use of these crew-less locomotives and the safety issues they present. The NTSB is investigating the recent incident in Ohio.
Doran & Murphy is dedicated to helping victims of railway injuries. If you or a loved one has been harmed, contact us today.