"> " />

7061 East Pleasant Valley Road, Independence, Ohio 44131 • (216) 241-2630 / Fax: (216) 241-6516

Membership
Benefits
News and Issues
Departments
Secretary-Treasurers
Information
Merchandise
Communications
FELA
Events
Links
User Info

Canada's TSB identifies 18 factors leading to Lac-Megantic train accident and calls for additional safety defenses to improve rail safety

(Source: Transportation Safety Board press release, August 19, 2014)

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigation into the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA) train derailment in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec (investigation report R13D0054), concluded that a multitude of factors led to the accident which left 47 people dead. The TSB is now calling for additional physical defences to prevent runaway trains, and for more thorough audits of safety management systems‎ to ensure railways are effectively managing safety.

On the evening of 5 July 2013, an MMA train was parked on a descending grade on the main track in Nantes, Quebec. The engineer applied hand brakes on all five locomotives, plus two other cars, and shut down all but the lead locomotive. Railway rules require hand brakes alone to be capable of holding a train, and this must be verified by a test. That night, the locomotive air brakes were left on during the test, meaning the train was being held by a combination of hand brakes and air brakes, giving a false impression that the hand brakes alone would hold the train. When a fire began in the engine, emergency responders shut off the engine, causing the air holding the independent brakes to leak off, reducing their effectiveness. Without enough force from the hand brakes, the train began rolling downhill toward Lac-Mégantic, just over seven miles away. As it moved down the grade, the train picked up speed, reaching a top speed of 65 mph, and derailing near the centre of town. Almost every derailed car was breached, releasing almost six million litres of crude oil, which ignited into a large fire.

“Accidents never come down to a single individual, a single action or a single factor. You have to look at the whole context,” said Wendy Tadros, Chair of the TSB. “In our investigation, we found 18 factors played a role in this accident.

The TSB found MMA was a company with a weak safety culture that did not have a functioning safety management system to manage risks. The TSB also learned that Transport Canada did not audit MMA often and thoroughly enough to ensure it was effectively managing the risks in its operations. Furthermore, the Board found problems with training, employee monitoring, and maintenance practices at MMA; with industry rules for the securement of unattended trains; and with the tank cars used to carry volatile petroleum crude oil.

“This investigation and its findings are complex, but our goal is simple: we must improve rail safety in Canada,” added Tadros. “That’s why, in addition to our three previous recommendations, we are issuing two new recommendations to ensure unattended trains will always be secured, and Canada’s railways will have safety management systems that really work to manage safety.” She concluded, “This is about governments, railways and shippers doing everything in their power to ensure there is never another Lac-Mégantic.”

See the investigation page for complete details of this investigation.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Like us on Facebook at
Facebook.com/BLETNational

Sign up for BLET News Flash Alerts

© 1997-2016 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

 


Decertification Helpline
(216) 694-0240

National Negotiations

Sign up for BLET
News Flash Alerts

DAILY HEADLINES

Get the latest labor news from the Teamsters
AAR: Rail traffic down 5.3 percent from 2015 for week ending July 23
Vision for East Coast rail service takes another step forward
The public sounds off on plans for Amtrak’s East Coast route
STB drops proposal to prioritize freight trains over Amtrak
Rail officials look for common ground on Amtrak bypass around SE Connecticut towns
UP posts record low employee safety statistics
Open houses showcase new CSX terminal planned for Rocky Mount
Progress on Minnesota high-speed rail slows
Teamster Allegiant Air pilots approve historic first contract
UP declares dividend for 3Q 2016
ALEC’s all encompassing anti-worker agenda
RRB: Dual benefit payments

More Headlines