Blog Post #1311 – Rail Crossings Get Upgrade

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada (July 2015)

Transport Canada (TC) is investing more than $9,700,000 to improve railway crossings across the country.

Federal Transport Minister Lisa Raitt made the announcement on April 27, 2015 upon launching Rail Safety Week, which ran from April 27 to May3rd. The funding, provided through the federal government ‘s Grade Crossing Improvement Program (GCIP) this year, will enhance the safety of pedestrians and motorists by upgrading more than 600 rail crossings.

Among the GCIP’s planned improvements are installations of warning lights, bells and barriers, new circuits or timing devices and brighter LED lights, according to a statement from TC. Factors that will determine the types of upgrades include traffic volume and accident history.

“A safe and secure national rail-transportation system is important to local communities and to Canada’s economic well-being,” Raitt says in a statement.

On April 23, 2015, Raitt issued an emergency directive to Canadian rail companies, requiring train speeds not to exceed 64 kilometres per hour in highly urbanized areas and companies to increase risk assessments and inspections along rail routes commonly used for transporting dangerous goods.

Apart from upgrading railway crossings, TC will also collaborate with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) on a joint study on railway safety, focusing on voice and video recorders in locomotives. Raitt says that both TC and the TSB would research ways in which railways can use these recorders to provide information for accident investigators, particularly about how train crews act and communicate before these incidents occur.

“Locomotive voice and video recorders are a critical safety tool that provides investigators with an unapparelled understanding of how and why accidents happen,” Raitt says. She adds that TC “strongly supports the use of voice and video recorders on trains” and is pleased to launch this joint initiative with the TSB.

My opinion

It is difficult to assess hazards across a large network and with the same scrutiny in every jurisdiction. We all see hazards differently and, I believe, there must be standardized assessment training. The changes at the crossings will happen, (have happened) but the inspectors and investigators require the standardized training to ensure all will review and assess the same way and not miss critical hazards in different jurisdictions.

Just a thought…

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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal 

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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