BLET seeks human factors input on Cardinal rule violations

Program seeks to eliminate root cause of incidents; Guarantees privacy of members who volunteer

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen is asking its members to participate in a voluntary program that will gather data to help eliminate the root causes of common railroad rule violations.

Members are asked to fill out a "Human Factors/Circadian Rhythms Questionnaire" if they are involved in a "Cardinal rule" violation (signals, speed, braking and track occupancy) as prescribed in 49 CFR Part 240.

All information gathered from the questionnaire will be kept confidential.

Former BLE International Vice President Bill Keppen is spearheading the program.

"This is a tool originally designed to collect human factors data when train crews are involved in accidents," Brother Keppen said. "Now it's being used to gather data on engineers involved in rule violations.

"Rule violations and train accidents are sometimes the result of human errors or performance lapses. If it is possible to identify the root causes of lapses and errors, then it may be possible to reduce rule violation and accidents."

The questionnaire is designed to collect work/sleep, human factor and demographic information. Among other information, participants are asked to provide seven or 10 days of sleep information, if possible.

"Truthful and forthright answers to questions are essential to the success of this project," Brother Keppen said. "If our members are really concerned about safety, then they have a personal responsibility to fill out these questionnaires and respond. If we don't get the date, then we not going to fix problems like train line ups and staff shortages."

Brother Keppen also assures that participants will remain anonymous.

"This data will be kept confidential," he said. "The information will be kept by the union - the FRA and railroads will not see your individual information. But we will share group information with FRA once an appropriate level of statistical data has been collected."

Members with questions should call Brother Keppen at: (866) 573-9094.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding this program are available on the BLET website:
A copy of the Human Factors/Circadian Rhythms Questionnaire is available here:


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen