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Accident Report Detail

Employee Fatality while Switching Cars in Railroad Yard

Executive Summary

On Sunday, May 10, 2009, about 6:38 p.m., a CSX Transportation (CSX) remote control operator (RCO) was struck and killed by a train consisting of a remote controlled locomotive and seven cars (yard job number Y296-10). At the time of the accident, the RCO was working alone on track 23 in Selkirk Yard in Selkirk, New York. The RCO was controlling the train remotely at the east end of the yard and was planning to couple additional cars in preparation for movement onto another track. Before the RCO could add the additional cars, he had to replace a missing coupler knuckle on what was to be the eighth car of the train consist. He was in the process of coupling the seventh and eighth cars when the moving equipment struck him. At the time of the accident, it was daylight and sunny, and the temperature was 54° F.

After the RCO was struck, the yardmaster received an automated alarm "... CSX 8479 Operator A is down, Operator A is down, Operator A is down" followed by a radio communication from the RCO that he was down and hurt. When other CSX personnel working in the yard also heard the alarm and radio communication indicating that the RCO was down, they rushed to the location where he was working. The yardmaster immediately called 911, and emergency response personnel from the Bethlehem Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived on scene about 9 to 10 minutes after being notified. The RCO was alive when the emergency response personnel arrived; however, he died en route to the hospital.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the CSX Transportation remote control operator being struck and killed on May 10, 2009, in Selkirk Yard in Selkirk, New York, was the operator's loss of situational awareness when he stepped between moving equipment while attempting to couple the equipment, in violation of CSX Safety Rule TS-15.

Accident Location: Selkirk , NY    
Accident Date: 5/10/2009
Accident ID: DCA09FR005

Date Adopted: 3/31/2011
NTSB Number: RAB-11-01
NTIS Number:  

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