Post #355 – Stop, Look: Tips to Avoid Crossing Collisions

Post #355 – Stop, Look: Tips to Avoid Crossing Collisions

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

On a snowy morning last December 23, a Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) train was approaching a highway rail crossing north of Lamont, a small agricultural town east of Edmonton, when a tanker truck slammed into one of the 56 grain cars, causing it to derail.

The accident closed Highway 831 for several hours. The powerful collision cost the tanker truck its front end; its operator was treated at the scene and then taken to hospital.

Bill Heaslip, operations manager for Alberta Infrastructure and Transportation, confirms that it snowed that day and the roads were plowed on an as-required basis. Preliminary evidence suggests icy road conditions and the driver’s attempt to stop too late may have been factors in the accident.

“We have our general process of investigating the incident and making sure that our employee safety and security is the number one priority,” says CPR spokesperson Breanne Feigel.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) notes that, in 2007, there were 209 railway crossing and trespasser incidents and 156 main-track derailments.

One such derailment occurred at a private crossing in Monet, Quebec almost three years ago, when a westbound VIA Rail Canada Inc. train collided with a tractor-trailer hauling logs. The locomotive and three of the four cars derailed, the TSB reports, resulting in minor injuries for a crew member.

Although there were adequate sightlines, the truck driver drove his rig into the crossing as the train was approaching. Investigators further determined the driver often passed crossings without seeing trains, possibly because of the low volume of rail traffic in that area. “As a result, it is possible that he became de-sensitized to the risk posed by rail traffic,” the report notes.Driver distraction was cited as a third contributing factor.

Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation offers the following advice when crossing railway tracks: drivers should slow down, listen and look both ways before crossing; they should not cross until the entire train has passed; they should wait for any signals to stop flashing before proceeding; and if the crossing has a barrier, they should wait for it to rise before crossing.

My opinion

We find that the issues on the road are similar to those in the workplace. I guess you can consider the cab of a tractor trailer to be a workplace environment. I wonder?

As stated in many of the previous blog posts, I really push to have all employees trained in the safe practices in what-ever job they are undertaking. It is the employer’s responsibility to train the operator or worker in the job itself, understanding of the appropriate governmental regulations and, last but not least, to train the worker/operator in all the possible hazards related to the job.

The better trained the worker/operator is, the safer the worker will be. Mind you, appropriate supervision is a must. The supervisor should ensure that the worker is following all the safe work practices as required through the training.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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