On April 24, 2018 another Amtrak worker was struck and killed by a train in Bowie, Maryland. The victim was an Amtrak employee who was helping monitor safety during track work between Baltimore and Washington, when he was stuck by Train 86. The tragic news comes just five months after a similar instance occurred in which two track workers were killed. Following the first incident, the National Transportation Safety Board strongly recommended Amtrak reduce the speed its trains are travelling when passing work crew members.
According to government records released in November, 2016, the nation’s passenger rail service did not follow the safety recommendations. The consequences for lack of safety policies and procedures in a company can be life-threatening. As proven in two separate fatal instances of Amtrak employees. How many more people must die before Amtrak changes their ways?
In the interest of safety for railroad workers and the public, advocates are pressing for slower rate of speed and work-zone restrictions. It has been well-known that Amtrak has had its fair share of issues with work zone safety on its tracks. Following the accident in 2016, the NTSB report identified twenty-nine active failures and latent conditions that were threatening safety.
Whether speed was the contributing factor to the latest crash is to be determined, but ultimately the lack of responsibility for safety falls on Amtrak’s management. Reducing speed in work-zone areas can cause train delays and disrupted schedules can prove problematic. However, it does not compare to the major issues faced when there is a break in safety. Major injuries and even death can occur when there is not a safety management system in place.
There have been reports on Amtrak’s plan to improve safety management systems, but we are yet to see if these new planned policies and procedures are going to be adopted and executed throughout the company.
It is important to follow the safety policies and procedures put in place by a company. Responsibility falls on all employees and upper management to report any break in safety or dangerous working conditions. If you have concerns about working in unsafe and unhealthful working conditions you have the right to speak up without fear of retaliation.