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11/24/2003



Rail News: Labor

BMWE petitions FRA to improve adjacent-track protection



Earlier this month, Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes (BMWE) sent the Federal Railroad Administration a petition for an emergency order seeking mandatory adjacent-track protection for all roadway work groups after a Burlington Northern Santa Fe track foreman was killed Oct. 30 by a train traversing adjacent track in Argyle, Iowa.

In December 1999, BMWE filed a similar petition with FRA after two other BNSF workers were killed in separate adjacent-track incidents in August and November 1999. However, FRA denied the petition, instead recommending an educational campaign to address adjacent-track protection.

"Little has changed [since 1999] and the so-called educational campaign has failed miserably," said BMWE Acting President Freddie Simpson in the petition. "In order to prevent further loss of life, FRA must take direct and immediate action though the issuance of an emergency order."

BMWE proposes the emergency order change federal regulations to require mandatory train approach warning and "safe positioning of roadway workers for protection against movements on adjacent track regardless of size or function," according to the petition.

"We believe that by [issuing] an emergency order, FRA will effectively improve safety and operational efficiency by closing a glaring loophole in the Roadway Worker Protection regulations," said Simpson.


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