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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

Safety: BNSF initiative promotes awareness to avoid adjacent-track incidents

Last month, Burlington Northern Santa Fe's engineering department rolled out "Operation: Track Awareness," a safety initiative designed to address recent incidents involving maintenance-of-way employees working adjacent to "live track." On Dec. 1, the Federal Railroad Administration agreed to support and help implement the initiative.

Engineering department officials are encouraging employees to perform work from the field rather than track side whenever adjacent track is used by on-track equipment. FRA regional inspectors, and BNSF safety assistants and field supervisors will conduct spot audits to ensure workers are following all BNSF and FRA safety regulations, and avoiding work between live tracks.

"These FRA field reviews will be non-punitive, with a focus on one-on-one contacts to promote education and awareness," said FRA Program Manager Dave Green in a prepared statement. "Our goal is to help instill a 'positive habit' of ensuring that individuals on our engineering work teams avoid positioning themselves adjacent to a live track whenever possible and look out for co-workers to prevent them from placing themselves at risk."

As part of the initiative, BNSF supervisors also are conducting job safety briefings across the railroad's system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/3/2003