The third incident occurred on Pan-Am Railways in Newington, N.H., on May 19 when a worker was fatally injured while attempting a coupling on a curve.
“While these recent cases have not yet been analyzed, the SOFA Working Group is concerned by the three fatalities that have already occurred during 2021 and reminds all employees to remain vigilant during switching operations by not only protecting shove movements, but also protecting themselves by avoiding close or no clearance hazards. Last, but not least, remember to hold a job briefing whenever the job or situation changes,” the group said in its alert.
The FRA’s Switching Operations Fatality Analysis (SOFA) working group recently released two new documents — one on the importance of job briefings and the other a safety alert following three switching accidents that have occurred since August.
In the safety alert, SOFA warned, “the SOFA Working Group is concerned by the 159 injuries that occurred this year through August 31, 2020, and reminds all employees to remain vigilant during switching operations by not only protecting the shove movement, but also protecting themselves by avoiding close or no clearance hazards. Last, but not least, remember to always hold a job briefing whenever the job or situation changes.”
In their “SOFA Lifesavers – Why Job Brief?” notice, SOFA details the importance to perform job briefings and points out that one in five switching operations fatalities lacked an adequate job briefing.
The Switching Operations Fatality Analysis working group was formed by the Federal Railroad Administration in the early 1990s in an effort to analyze switching accidents and prevent future accidents and fatalities. The group consists of representatives from the FRA, labor and management.
The Federal Railroad Administration’s Switching Operations Fatality Analysis working group (SOFA) – which has three SMART TD representatives – has released its switching fatality and severe injury update for the fourth quarter of 2018.
SOFA reported a total of 17 severe injuries for the fourth quarter, bringing 2018’s annual total to 68. Of those severe injuries reported in the quarter, one resulted in amputation. None of the incidents were fatal.
For the year, there were eight amputations. When combined with the first three SOFA quarterly reports, the group counted three switching-related fatalities in 2018. SMART TD had seven member fatalities last year.
In 2017, SOFA reported 68 severe injuries and nine amputations.