Ottawa, October 31, 2016 – The Transportation Safety Board released their Watchlist today. The Watchlist identifies key safety issues aimed at improving safety in Canada’s transportation system.
The ten-item list identifies four issues specific to railway operations. Notable changes include the removal of railway crossing safety and the addition of worker fatigue for train crews.
Like in previous years, the transportation of flammable liquids by rail, compliance with railway signal indications, and on-board voice and video recorders remain on the list.
The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), which represents approximately 12,000 workers in the rail industry, has been urging the federal government for two decades to make crew fatigue a priority. Crew fatigue is a major safety risk for both workers and the public.
“We’re pleased that the TSB formally recognized crew fatigue by including it in the Watchlist,” said Doug Finnson, president of TCRC. “Reducing crew fatigue has been a major focal point for our union. This announcement should raise awareness and spark more definitive action from the government and the industry,”
“We’ve always believed that fighting fatigue should be based on sound science, not operational efficiency,” added the union leader.
However, the union is reserved in its view of the removal of railway crossing safety from the Watchlist. Although significant progress has been made, as evidenced by a decline in the 5-year average for crossing accidents, new data has shown a significant increase in serious accidents from last year.
The Watchlist also included two multi-modal issues addressing the TSB’s concerns regarding safety management oversight and the speed in which Transport Canada addresses the TSB’s recommendations. The union has had long standing concerns with safety management systems and the lack of regulatory oversight.
“Let’s not forget that the goal of all the industry’s stakeholders should be to ensure the safety of workers and of the public,” concluded Doug Finnson. “That is why the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference has consistently advocated for an efficient and transparent safety management system.”
The Teamsters represents 115,000 members in Canada in all industries, including 12,000 in the rail industry. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America.
Stéphane Lacroix, Director of Public Relations
Cell: 514 609-5101