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October 15, 2014

NTSB Recommends Action to Curb Increase in Railroad Deaths

This vehicle stops at all railroad crossings
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a special investigation report on the recent increase in deaths of railroad and rail transit roadway workers and made recommendations to reduce the number of fatalities. The report provides details of 14 fatal accidents in 2013. Over the year, 15 roadway workers died.

Of fatalities in 2013, 11 resulted from 11 accidents on freight railroads and four were on commuter or transit railways. The average number of railroad worker fatalities has fluctuated but has remained about 6.4 per year from 1990 to 2013. The report states that comprehensive job briefings could help prevent accidents and that national inspection protocols for work activities are necessary to ensure the safety of roadway workers.


The NTSB issued recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Fatality Analysis of Maintenance-of-Way Employees and Signalmen Committee. The recommendations call for additional training, harmonization of standards, a national inspection program and greater stakeholder participation in roadway worker fatalities, among other measures.

The report also documented potential confusion arising from differences between the regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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