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Worker killed while walking in area of limited clearance, NTSB says in report

By | January 21, 2022

Fatality on Housatonic Railroad occurred in October 2020

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Photo of accident site with track excavator
Photo of accident site with track excavator
The site of the fatal accident on the Housatonic Railroad, with notations by the National Transportation Safety Board. RWIC denotes Roadway Worker in Charge. (Federal Railroad Administration)

WASHINGTON — A Housatonic Railroad employee was killed in an October 2020 accident because he attempted to walk into a limited-clearance area and was struck by a moving track excavator, the National Transportation Safety Board determined in a newly released accident report.

The accident occurred on Oct. 14, 2020, in North Canaan, Conn., killing a 59-year-old man [see “Digest: Tri-Rail again increases service,” Trains News Wire, Oct. 15, 2020].

The victim, who had been employed by the railroad for more than 20 years, was serving as the roadway worker in charge at a track maintenance project to install a new switch panel. He was moving in the same direction as the track excavator, attempting to walk between the switch panel and the excavator, when he was struck by the machine. The driver was unable to see the victim because of the height of the excavator.

The railroad has made a number of changes to training and safety policies as a result of the accident, according to the report.

2 thoughts on “Worker killed while walking in area of limited clearance, NTSB says in report

  1. So sad…”aware alert, never hurt”

    What must be included in the RWP job briefing?
    When conducting a job briefing, employees must: 1. Discuss the sequence of job steps, 2. Identify, eliminate, contain, or communicate all potential hazards related to the job, 3. Inspect tools and equipment before use, 4.

  2. I very carefully read the NTSB findings. Am I wrong: slow moving locomotive = bell ringing, equipment on construction sites = when backing up a loud noise signals that move (it was apparently a backward move = operator could not see clearly)

    As one who wasn’t there, and as thorough as NTSB reports usually are, I wondered if the above mentioned warning was installed/operational?

    The deceased might have not reacted to the warning, had it been activated.
    He might have been too familiar of the sound and was complacent.

    But at least I would think NTSB would have addressed the question!
    I have read their reports (reason they take so long to complete) and the detail they research usually leaves NO stone unturned

    We “armchair investigators” can come up w/causes. More than once I have seen NTSB show how wrong I was on cause. As Paul Harvey used to say: The Rest of the Story, usually NTSB finds that.

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