Railroads On a Roll

2010 was the safest year in the history of U.S. freight railroading.

The Association of American Railroads reported March 15 that 2010 was the safest year in the history of U.S. freight railroading, with the number of train accidents involving Class I freight railroads falling by 3 percent and the number of employee casualties falling by 14.2 percent. A few days earlier, the Transportation Technology Center (TTC), an AAR R&D and testing subsidiary that furthers safety and operational efficiency, celebrated a year without a lost-time work day case.

In addition, train derailments dropped to historic lows in 2010, falling 9.6 percent from 2009. Train accidents caused by defective track, human error, and equipment fell by 9.4 percent, 9.6 percent, and 14.2 percent, respectively. Grade crossing collisions rose for the first time in six years, however, increasing by 7.8 percent from the 2009 level.

AAR based its calculations on Federal Railroad Administration preliminary year-end data. "These safety accomplishments demonstrate the depth of the freight railroad industry's commitment to the safety of our employees, the communities we serve, and the country's rail network infrastructure," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger. "Safety is not an option for the railroads. It drives how we conduct our business day in and day out. The safety challenge is never-ending. Our industry's excellent safety record reflects its commitment to innovation and investment."

He said record investments by freight railroads in infrastructure, equipment, and technology in recent years have made railroads much safer, noting that as railroads are working to meet the most expensive federal mandate in U.S. railroad history by installing positive train control systems, railroads are experiencing record-low collision rates, down 13 percent in 2010 from the previous record low in 2009. The train collision rate has dropped by 89.9 percent since 1980 and 47 percent since 2000, according to AAR.

TTC is located near Pueblo, Colo. TTC Safety Manager Terry Terrill congratulated employees of the center for a year without a lost-time workday during a celebratory breakfast. "Employee safety is a part of our culture at TTC. We look out for one another. And with a lost-time frequency rate of 0.94, the statistics show that we take ownership of our safety," he said.

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue