FRA Issues Switching Operations Safety Advisory
On May 3, 2013, the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) issued a safety advisory concerning the safety hazards associated with flat switching operations. Flat switching is performed by one of two methods – kicking or shoving. A car is kicked when it is uncoupled from the switching locomotive while it is motion allowing the car to roll freely and couple upon impact with the cars of the new train. When a car is shoved, it is not uncoupled from the switiching locomotive until it is secured to the new train. The FRA press release regarding the new safety advisory indicated that since 2009, six railroad employees have died as a result of switching operations. The press release went on to state that “During kicking operations, employees are at greater risk if the rail car doesn’t couple securely with other rail cars already resting on the destination track.”
A link the FRA press release and the safety advisory can be found here.
By Matt Darby