Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (January 2015)
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) Has highlighted two of its watchlist issues – following Railway signal indications and onboard video and voice recorders – in the wake of the release of its report on a train collision in May 2013.
On May 18, 2013, a Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) train was approaching Dunmore, Alberta, when it passed the stop signal in struck the side of an eastbound CP train leaving the hamlet, according to a TSB statement issued on December 16, 2014. A train conductor suffered minor injuries in the incident, which derailed two locomotives and for railcars and damage several other cars.
The demands of other operational tasks likely diverted the attention of the crew members on the westward train away from establishing a common understanding of the wayside signals. “The train was then operated as though the way was clear,” the statement says. As these occurrences continue to happen, the TSB has called for additional physical safety defences to ensure that rail workers consistently recognize and follow railway signal indications governing operating speed or operating limits.
The investigation also found that until locomotive in-cab video and voice recorders are installed on lead locomotives, there is a risk that information inter-goal to accident investigations will continue to be unavailable.
“That is why the TSB has called on the railway industry to ensure communications in the locomotive cab are recorded, and the TSB is committed to working with Transport Canada (TC) and the industry to remove any legislative barriers that would prevent the installation of these devices,” the statement notes.
CP says it is “fully supportive” of cab-monitoring technology for both post-accident analysis and its use during in-train operations to prevent accidents. Keith Kreel, CP president and chief executive officer, adds that correct implementation of this technology has lowered the frequency of collisions by nearly half in similar industries.
The day after the release of the TSB report, TCE announced the new Grade Crossing Regulations to improve railway safety. The following new regulations will take effect over the next seven years at locations where railway line crosses a road at the same level; bring all grade crossings in Canada to the same standard; clearly defining the person who is responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and inspection of the crossing service, signage and mourning systems; requiring railway companies and road authorities to share basic safety-related information on their grade crossings; and requiring rail companies to report leading-indicator data to TC.
Here we find, again, the need to implement new legislation because of an accident or near miss. Yes, this could have been much worse, but assessments, completed on a regular basis, would have recognized the need for additional safety features and incorporated them into the system. If it had been implemented earlier, then maybe the Lac-Megantic accident in 2013 may have been avoided.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.