In closing, I want to recognize the NTSB staff for their hard work in
bringing this Special Investigation Report to the Board. The report team under
Investigator-In-Charge Tim DePaepe did an outstanding job.
Today's presentations have provided valuable insight into the safety issues
faced by roadway workers. The many recommendations we have adopted today can
make roadway safety more consistent and more predictable in this always
potentially hazardous environment.
We have asked for comprehensive job briefings that include hazard recognition
and mitigation, and we have recommended that the Federal Railroad Administration
(FRA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) require initial and recurrent
training in hazard recognition and mitigation for roadway workers.
Roadway workers face similar risks whether they are regulated by the FRA or
the FTA. We have asked that safety rules be harmonized in recognition of this
fact, and that FTA establish roadway worker protection rules with the help of
the FRA and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
To make certain that we get the best data on roadway worker accidents, we
have asked the FAMES committee to expand the scope of their publications data on
all roadway worker fatalities. And to make certain that good data are available
regarding accidents affecting transit workers, we have asked for the creation of
a body analogous to FAMES for transit rail.
We have made other recommendations asking for clearer lines of authority for
the OSHA and the FRA. And we have asked for Union participation in FRA and FTA
accident investigations to bring operation-specific expertise.
It is our hope that the appropriate organizations will act on today's
recommendations. Those recommendations, if implemented, can reinforce safer
roadway operations on all our railways and transit railways.
But in addition to all of the recommendations we adopted today that are
directed at organizations, I would like to direct a plea drawn from this
report's findings to any roadway worker who hears my voice or reads these words:
Be your brother's and sister's keeper. Be their reminder. Have their backs.
It might mean saving their lives, and it might mean that they can help save
Identify a hazard even if it slows down a job. Talk over hazards persistently
until you work out the ways to reduce your risk on the job.
In another mode of transportation, aviation, this principle of accountability
between crew members has become standard: The crew must all be accountable to
each other and communicate hazards for flights to be safe.
In recent years we have lost too many good people on the wayside –
notwithstanding that inspections have turned up fewer defects and fewer
One of our recommendations today is to bolster the FRA's national inspection
But at the end of the day, it is the individual roadway worker who has to
make it back home.
At the end of the day, if you're a roadway worker, your safety, and your
co-worker's safety, will always be in your hands.
Your railroads, regulators and unions – working together – can provide better
rules, training, and inspections. But they cannot replace your vigilance or your
watchful eye on the tracks.
We stand adjourned.