Safety training of Canadian rail workers needs to improve, says union
The United Steelworkers (USW) welcomed the Transportation Safety Board of Canada's report on a 2015 CN Rail train derailment near Gogama, Ont., but also called for additional rail safety measures.
The Transportation Safety Board in February released a 100-page report on its investigation into the Feb. 14, 2015, derailment of a CN Rail freight train near the northern Ontario community of Gogama. A total of 29 oil tanker cars derailed, an estimated 1.7 million litres of crude oil were released into the environment and resulting fires burned for five days.
The safety board concluded that the derailment was caused by joint bar failures in the track, also citing cold weather and insufficient training of CN Rail track inspectors. The board's recommendations include greater training and other safety measures, such as lower speed limits for trains carrying dangerous goods.
"We have been advocating for some time for increased safety measures, including lower speed limits in certain situations, improved training and greater employee retention and recruitment," said Randy Koch, President of USW Local 2004, which represents 3,000 CN Rail employees who maintain and repair the railway's track, bridges and infrastructure across Canada.
The USW also called on Transport Canada to consider taking over responsibility from railways for training rail inspectors and other key employees. Transport Canada should at least improve its oversight and regulation of railways' internal training programs, the union says.
Source: United Steelworkers (USW)