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Regulations were not followed in fatal railroad worker accident

Railroad workers are an essential component in keeping Minnesota railroads running at optimum efficiency. No one can underestimate the importance of railroads, not just for transporting people but for interstate commerce as well. However, there is no denying that railroad workers face many dangers while on the job.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a number of safety measures were not taken by workers regarding a Minneapolis BNSF railroad accident that lead to the death of a worker. The accident took place in May 2015. While workers were unloading track panels from the train’s flat cars one of the workers, a railway foreman, was hit by a panel, which caused him to die.

Per the NTSB, regulations were not followed. Instead the workers who were unloading the panels failed to take the time to go over the job and the risks involved in the job prior to undertaking it. Moreover, an inexperienced worker was allowed to operate the fork lift, even though the worker was made aware that a train was arriving on an adjoining track, guidance of which was also ambiguous. Following the investigation, BNSF has implemented a formal training procedure for railroad employees who will be using heavy equipment.

Although BNSF has since upgraded its safety training following the investigation, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it violated regulations when the fatal accident occurred. While it has not been reported whether the family of the deceased is taking legal action against BNSF, the families of railroad workers in similar situations or who find that their loved one’s death was due to employer negligence may want to determine whether they are able to pursue a lawsuit to seek compensation for their losses.

Source: Watertown Public Opinion, “NTSB: Some safety measures not followed in fatal accident,” Oct. 28, 2016