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  • Writer's pictureRegion II

Potential Train Derailment Avoided by Employee's Awareness

"Region 2 VPP Sites: Please see email below from fellow VPP participant Curtis Lumber and consider sharing it with your coworkers. This is an excellent example of how employees actively participating in the safety program can help save lives.

In 2013, a dramatic surge in North American oil production caused the U.S. to become the leading crude oil producer in the world. As a result, there has been a significant increase in the transportation of crude oil across North America via maritime, pipeline, rail, and motor carrier transportation systems. Railroads became the most visible example of the shift in crude oil transportation when a train derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, on July 6, 2013, resulting in 47 fatalities. Since then, additional derailments leading to hazmat emergencies have occurred in Alabama, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Virginia, Ontario, West Virginia, and New Brunswick. Because of the unique requirements associated with crude oil emergencies, there is an urgent need to improve state and local emergency preparedness and response programs for such events.

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has recorded a webinar that will help emergency managers understand crude oil transportation trends, routes, implications for sensitive populations and critical facilities, crude oil characteristics, lessons learned from crude oil derailments, and crude oil preparedness recommendations.

The webinar can be viewed using this link.

If you have not considered train derailments as part of your site’s emergency action plan, please consider doing so using the information provided in the webinar. Thank you for participating in the Voluntary Protection Program.

Email "On the morning of January 19th, at approximately 8:30, a southbound train was passing the Ballston Spa Facility and Rich Warner noticed what he thought was a very abnormal sound coming from the switch area. It was more of a pounding sound, and because Rich was not at his regular desk, he didn’t give it a second thought. However, when another southbound train passed, it was clear to him that something was wrong. Rich then called Canadian Pacific and told them what was going on and they dispatched a crew to investigate. The crew was at Ballston Spa within a half an hour, and when Rich saw them, he went out to indicate where he thought the sound was coming from. They let him know that the switch frog was broken and that this is a critical component of the switch, and several derailments have been attributed to its failure. The crew also informed Rich that an order had been placed to re-weld the frog to repair it, and that the speed limit for trains through this area had been reduced to 10 MPH.

Please share this good news story with other employees. Rich is to be commended for his awareness and quick actions."

(This is shared from an email sent to the Region 2 VPP Sites from Richard F. Brown, CSP, CFPS, VPP Manager, US DOL OSHA. Second email is from Bret Trufant, Loss Control Director,Curtis Lumber Company, Inc. Photo shared from

#2016 #vpp #safety #awareness #safetyprogram #railroad

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