RICHMOND, B.C. – The Transportation Safety Board has determined inadequate safety training contributed to the injury of a track worker at a rail yard in Delta, B.C.
The board says a Toronto Terminals Railway locomotive engineer and a conductor were shoving 66 empty transport containers onto a track at the Roberts Bank Yard in December 2016 when the lead container struck an employee.
It says in a release that an investigation found the conductor was driving a vehicle beside the first container while providing instructions to the engineer, who was at the opposite end of the moving containers.
At the same time, two workers employed by a track maintenance contractor were clearing snow from a switch on the track as the containers were approaching.
The board says the conductor saw the workers and activated a beacon on top to alert them to the oncoming containers and when that didn’t get their attention he sounded a horn, which also didn’t work.
It says the conductor instructed the locomotive engineer to stop the moving containers but that didn’t happen before the leading container struck and seriously injured one of the track workers.
The board says the conductor’s instructions to the locomotive engineer was not made in time to allow the containers to be stopped.
“The attentional focus required to monitor the (container’s) progress while driving the vehicle, combined with the expectation that the track workers would clear the track likely contributed to the late call to stop the movement,” the release says.
The investigation revealed that a lack of safety training meant neither of the track workers was monitoring the work site for oncoming trains as required.
“In addition, as the use of safety watch and the associated processes were not specifically audited, the inadequate application of this form of track worker protection was not apparent.”
The board says BCR Properties Ltd., owner of the Roberts Bank Yard, has incorporated a number of protection measures into its safety management system and followed up with the contractor to ensure its employees receive appropriate training.
It says Technical Safety BC issued a safety advisory to notify all certified railways operating in the province about the risks associated with shoving equipment and recommended railways ensure compliance with all rules and regulations.