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FAMES ALERT: MOW Tie Gang Foreman Fatally Injured by On-Track Roadway Maintenance Machine

Published: Feb 15 2024 12:19PM




February 13, 2024: At approximately 1:30 pm (EDT) a 41-year-old maintenance-of-way tie gang foreman with 17 years of service was struck and fatally injured by an on-track roadway maintenance machine in Roanoke Rapids, NC. A ballast regulator was occupying part of a crossing and preparing to dress ballast on the north approach, working in a north direction. As a highway motor vehicle approached the crossing 3 employees flagging the crossing turned their attention to a highway vehicle to stop it. At this time, the foreman was struck and fatally injured by the north bound regulator, coming to rest in the gage of the track.


Take Away

Although this recent tragedy has not yet been analyzed, FAMES reminds all roadway workers:


• On-track safety briefings should emphasize the risks associated with RMM movements and address items such as noise, machine spacing, obstructed visibility, and proper communications whenever roadway workers are working near RMM(s).


• Railroads should engage Roadway Workers in discussions concerning the spike of fatalities from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. to raise awareness and gain a better understanding of the underlying causes.


• While working on or near grade crossings, roadway workers must remain conscious of rail traffic and on-track safety protection.


• RMM operators must clearly communicate signals for initiating movement, slowing, stopping, and changing direction--communicating change in direction is imperative.


• Establish clear communication and maintain proper clearance between RMM operators and workers on the ground.


The FAMES Committee consists of safety representatives from a cross section of rail labor, railroad management, and federal regulators. FAMES is a continuous improvement process that relies on the candid sharing of available data and the views of its participants. To enable the process, FAMES explicitly refrains from making any findings regarding whether any past or present practice or protocol satisfies any legal duty or standard of care.


The views, opinions, and recommendations contained in this report are those of the FAMES Committee and do not necessarily represent the views, opinions, or recommendations of any specific railroad, labor organization, or governmental agency.