NTSB Meeting on 2014 Freight Trains' Collision

The August 2014 collision of two Union Pacific Railroad freight trains in Hoxie, Ark., prompted the safety board to issue urgent safety recommendations to help ensure that electronic alertness devices ("alerters") work as intended on trains.

Members of the National Transportation Safety Board are meeting Dec. 6 to determine the probable cause of the Aug. 14, 2014, head-on collision at 2:28 a.m. of two Union Pacific Railroad freight trains in Hoxie, Ark., on a section where a single main track transitioned into two main tracks. The collision killed the engineer and conductor on the southbound train and seriously injured the engineer and conductor on the northbound train, NTSB reported five months later when it issued urgent safety recommendations to help ensure that electronic alertness devices ("alerters") work as intended on trains.

In the recommendations, NTSB explained that the southbound train's locomotive was equipped with an alerter that used an alarm cycle beginning with 10 seconds of visual alarms followed by 10 seconds of visual and audible alarms of increasing intensity. After that, if the engineer does not perform an input or action to reset the alerter, the alerter delay is energized, the alarm is silenced, and the brakes are applied.

An alerter helps crew members stay vigilant in the locomotive cab by monitoring the locomotive engineer's activity. But NTSB reported that it found 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," NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart said. "We found that the alerters were acting from automated events as if they had been human inputs."

The collision in Hoxie also derailed 55 cars, caused a spill of diesel fuel and a fire, and forced the evacuation of about 500 nearby residents.

NTSB reports that Union Pacific railroad has moved to fix the problem; it wants the Federal Railroad Administration to require that other railroads understand the problem and fix it where necessary.

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

    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.

  • Analyze Incident Data

    Collect relevant incident data, analyze trends, and generate accurate regulatory reports, including OSHA 300, 300A, and 301 logs, through IndustrySafe’s extensive incident reporting and investigation module.

  • 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
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January / February 2019


      Production vs. Safety 
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
      The State of Contractor Safety
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue