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Accident Report Detail

Railroad Accident Brief: BNSF Railway Employee Fatality

Executive Summary

​On May 25, 2015, at 11:39 a.m. central daylight time, a BNSF Railway engineering department foreman died while directing the unloading of track panels from flat cars located on a side track adjacent to a main track.1 While the foreman directed the work from one of the flat cars, the machine operator was attempting to unload two track panels; however one panel slid off the fork lift and struck two locomotives passing on the adjacent main track. The foreman jumped or fell from the flat car to the ground just as the falling panel struck a panel on the flat car forcing it to slide onto the foreman below. (See figure 1.) The accident occurred near milepost (MP) 9.7 on the BNSF Midway Subdivision in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The passing locomotive was operating at 13 miles per hour (mph). The temperature at the time of the accident was 63° F with wind of 17 mph.

Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was the locomotive on an adjacent track striking track panels being unloaded and causing them to dislodge and fall on the foreman. Contributing to the accident was (1) a job briefing that did not address the risks associated with the work; (2) the continuation of unloading activities despite being alerted to an approaching train on the adjacent main track; and (3) unclear guidance on adjacent track protection.

Accident Location: Minneapolis , MN USA  
Accident Date: 5/25/2015
Accident ID: DCA15FR010

Date Adopted: 10/27/2016
NTSB Number: RAB1604
NTIS Number:  

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