WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a safety bulletin asking railroads to review with employees the dangers of pushing and shoving moves at highway grade crossings.
The bulletin issued today (March 17) is clearly in response to the fatal accident involving a Norfolk Southern conductor on March 7 [see “Norfolk Southern employee killed …,” Trains News Wire, March 7, 2023], although it does not explicitly name that incident.
The bulletin, which the FRA says “is informal in nature,” says safe operation in such situations should include:
— Proper training, periodic oversight, and application of appropriate railroad operating rules when determining whether the track is clear;
— Proper job briefings and communications between assigned crew members during pushing and shoving movements.
The FRA says its preliminary indication into the incident in question has found “a conductor with 18 years of service was fatally injured when the tank car he was riding to provide point protection for a switching move was struck by a dump truck. The incident occurred at a private grade crossing in a steel plant as the train consist traveled southward. The dump truck, traveling west, stopped at the private highway-rail grade crossing, then proceeded and collided with the car the conductor was riding, killing the conductor.”
The FRA says it may take additional actions as it completes its investigation.