|Safety & Health|
RAIL SAFETY IN FLORIDA
Clearwater Florida-Thursday, February 9, 2017. A special thank you, to CSX train crew employees operating through Clearwater the evening of February 9th, 2017. The Conductor spotted a man close to the track from his side of the locomotive, an area the Engineer could not see. Quick action by the Conductor alerting the Engineer to go into emergency braking, slowed the train down enough for the person to move away from the track thus, avoiding a tragedy. Union Members across the board appreciate the professionalism demonstrated by these two BLET members. Even with PTC or any other current technology, there is no way this person could have been spared. A life was saved.
Two individuals on each train, per our national minimum crew standard bill https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/233 makes sense. However, rail carriers continue their push to cut train crew staffing. The fight for safety is a long a perilous road. Lives saved like the case above do not seem to matter to big corporations. At least the union gives you a voice and we will fight for safety to the very end!
How do you help yourself? (Be Proactive) The Counter measure to Behavior Based Tactics
Your union has worked hard to pass legislation to eliminate fatigue.
The Federal Railroad Safety Act-was amended to include Whistleblower protection-OSHA
The Rail Safety Improvement Act-was amended to prohibit the railroad from retaliating against you, if you report; an injury, request medical treatment, and more.
It's time to get involved in your union-attend meetings-run for union office.
Report unsafe conditions and document each situation. Keep it on file!
Get to know workers of different crafts and collaborate on unsafe conditions.
Join the BLET PAC-Contact Government Officials-tell them of working conditions and the need for 2 crew members (C&E) in the cab of a locomotive.
As you are aware, railroading is getting more complicated with regard to your personal space and monitoring. Rail carriers, for which we are employed, are using any and all methods of electronic device equipment, monitoring everything we do at work. Our personal devices are restricted by the carrier and the FRA. The carriers and the FRA made sure we could not use our cameras to take snap shots of unsafe conditions. The Pen and Pad method still works.
Tools-How to Document
For reporting unsafe conditions the first thing you must do is abide by all railroad General Requirements. The second thing you should do is write it down for your own reference and documentation. Try your best to fill in as much of the following details. If you notice that the unsafe condition has not been addressed, BLET Division Officers attending to safety matters should be notified and provided the proper documentation to proceed.
Date: Name: Phone: Occupation: Email:
Additional crew members: Phone: Occupation:
Job Number: Mile Post: Train destination and direction: Subdivision:
Time of occurrence:
Provide a copy of the time ticket or any additional documentation: copies of; Brake slips, tonnage graphs etc..
Other witnesses notified or present and contact information:
*(Must Have) Supervisor Notified and Time: Dispatcher Notified and Time:
*(Must Have) Explanation: (provide as many details as possible). Gather further documents!
Safety and Government-OSHA/FRA Investigators must be provided evidence to proceed.
Sometimes the matter has to be escalated to the proper government authorities in order to protect life and property. You don't want to leave anything out of your documentation list. Proper use of this very valuable tool can literally move mountains if applied the right way. Following this very simple technique and practice will aide you for the rest of your railroad career. You see, when things are documented, you now have created a reference that can be called upon at a later date. The carrier does this exact same measure with your information so, why don't you help yourself and your fellow coworkers by creating a paper trail. Many OSHA/FRA cases are dropped due to poor documentation.
Helpful Phone Numbers: Federal Railroad Administration Region 3 Office: (Rail Safety) 1800-724-5993
Occupational Safety and Health Administration: (Only for Retaliation) 404-562-2300
This great program is set up to help employees with more than substance and train accident issues. If you recognize that you or your family members are under unusual stress from personal relationship problems, substance, depression, anxiety, or emotional challenges of any kind, CSX and Amtrak EAP Counselors can help guide you to trained professionals outside of the workplace. It is all confidential. We have had a tough couple of years in Florida on (Amtrak & CSX) where four of our good friends met with tragic outcomes. Every family goes through problems of some kind or another. Please don't hesitate to get the help you need, either through EAP or directly through our own network health plan. If EAP is involved, they may be able to help with getting time off for treatment. CSX EAP Hotline 1800-657-3366 Amtrak EAP Carol Grande 904-766-5133
Coping with a Critical Incident
This educational program involved Locomotive Engineers and Conductors visiting area schools and trucking companies and teaching about the hazards of the railroad industry. Lately, railroads have backed away from using Locomotive Engineers and Conductors, the very ones who know how to run a train and what it takes to stop one. Instead, Railroads have started to use claim agents and marketing managers for this purpose. We feel our T&E people are best suited for this task and we certainly have plenty of members willing to step up and help. Hopefully, the railroads will take notice and involve their rank and file employees as contributing partners in Operation Lifesaver safety.
Recently, job insurance companies have made statements that CSX was one of the worst rail carriers for discipline. Accidents must be prevented; this is something that we can all attest. As Conductors and Engineers we are going to have to take the issue of safety to the next level. To protect our lives and livelihood, let's take the extra time if you are uncertain of a rule or situation. As the old saying goes; "take the safe course" still very much applies! Work by the rules and help each other during the trip and turn off the cell phones.
Railroad Safety has improved over the years according to RR statistics but, we are doing a lot more with a lot less. Safety seems to spike out of control now and then. So, is the railroad really getting safer? Welcome to Behavior-Based Safety. Yes, Railroads have hired Industrial Psychologists to help them implement such programs into the workplace. http://hazards.org/bs/
Premise of Behavior Based Safety or Total Safety Culture
Who sells this to the Railroads? Scott Geller, DuPont, Aubrey Daniels, Liberty Mutual.
When things go wrong-it is always your fault. Classic-pit worker against worker.
Cut maintenance personnel to the bare minimum. Not in the budget...
Focusing on hazards-not hazard elimination. Hazardous walking at mp 101-forever.
Shifting responsibility-overload the workers responsibility-cut training time.
Have workers watch other workers. Use of catch phrases like; Human Factor Accidents
Management bonuses of low/or no injuries. Awards for no injuries-peer pressure
Stress in the Workplace
Does any of the above sound familiar? Behavior Based Safety Type platforms have been tried in many other industries. Much depends on how managers administer this particular method and job design. What eventually happens? It can lead to spikes in safety we are now experiencing in the workplace. Workers can only take so much. Especially if a front line manager is condescending! Stress increases, blood pressure increases, you then become a risk to yourself and the railroad. Studies have shown the psychological and physical impact to workers is beginning to surface. http://www.apa.org/wsh/