New railroad security bill introduced
Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) has introduced a bill, H.R. 4372, that would mandate security training for railroad workers. Also known as the Rail Worker Emergency Training Act of 2005, the bill would address many of the concerns expressed by BLET members in the Safe Rails, Secure America surveys conducted by the Teamster Rail Conference.
The Rail Conference survey documents vulnerabilities on America's railways and details shocking inattention to security by the nation's largest rail corporations. The report's conclusions are that the nation's rail system is vulnerable to terrorist attack, and the rail corporations have not taken seriously the safety of their employees and the public. A copy of the report is available on the BLET website.
H.R. 4372 would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish wide-ranging training guidelines that would address equipment inspection, hazardous materials storage, rail-yard access and a host of other issues.
The bill also would require rail carriers to file specific training plans with the Homeland Security Department within a year, and face noncompliance fines if plans fall short of federal standards.
"This bill goes a long way towards addressing the woeful lack of security training given to railroad workers," said BLET National President Don M. Hahs. "It recognizes that these men and women are our first line of defense against terror on the railroads and addresses the need for training, so this defense may be more effective."
BLET members are urged to contact their member of Congress (www.house.gov) and ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 4372.
© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen