NTSB Issues Urgent Safety Recommendations to Ensure Alertness Devices Work as Intended

The recommendations are for the Federal Railroad Administration, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the American Public Transportation Association.

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued urgent safety recommendations to help ensure that electronic alertness devices (known as alerters) work as intended on trains. The recommendations were directed at the Federal Railroad Administration, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the American Public Transportation Association.

The alerter helps crew members stay vigilant in the locomotive cab by monitoring engineer activity. If it has been too long since the engineer performed an input or action, the system issues visual and audible alerts, and applies train brakes if there are still no inputs from the crew. NTSB has found that an alerter's reckoning of "idle time" can be reset to zero by inputs that do not necessarily demonstrate a crew member's continuing engagement.

"The alerter is an automated system to make sure the human is engaged and, if necessary, to take action," said NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart. "We found that the alerters were acting from automated events as if they had been human inputs."

This comes as a result of an ongoing investigation into the 2014 collision of two Union Pacific freight trains in Hoxie, Ark. The accident resulted in the deaths of two crew members, the derailment of 55 cars, a release of diesel fuel, a fire, and the evacuation of about 500 nearby residents.

Download Center

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021

    Featuring:

    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
    • PPE: CONSTRUCTION
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
    • PPE: ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
    • SAFETY & HEALTH
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue