Federal agencies Injury prevention Rail

NTSB releases special report on railroad, transit worker deaths

Washington – The National Transportation Safety Board on Sept. 24 issued a special investigation report regarding a recent rise in deaths among railroad and rail transit roadway workers – who perform inspection, construction, maintenance or repair on or near railroad tracks.

Railroad roadway worker deaths increased in each of the past three years, with 14 fatal incidents occurring in 2013, officials said. NTSB provided OSHA, the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Fatality Analysis of Maintenance-of-Way Employees and Signalmen Committee with a number of recommendations, including:

  • FRA should require initial and recurring training for roadway workers regarding hazard recognition and mitigation.
  • FRA should work with OSHA to set clear deadlines for use by railroads and railroad workers outlining when and where OSHA standards will be applied.
  • FTA should establish a national inspection program that specifically includes roadway worker activities.
  • OSHA should establish an agreement with FTA to work together on any investigation that involves the fatality of an on-duty rail transit worker.

“We cannot change what happened,” NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart said in his opening statement announcing the report’s release. “But in finding commonalities among these accidents, we hope to help prevent similar accidents in the future.”