Fatal Accident Patterns — Hours of Day

Published: Nov 25 2015 10:56AM


The FAMES Committee dedicates its efforts to all roadway workers who have lost their lives in the performance of duty and to the families, loved ones, and coworkers they have left behind.

Mission Statement:
The Mission of the Fatality Analysis of Maintenance-of-way Employees and Signalmen (FAMES) Committee is to analyze all fatalities and selected related incidents in order to make recommendations to reduce the risk of future occurrences and eliminate fatalities to roadway workers. 

Following the implementation of the Roadway Worker Protection (RWP) Rule in 1997, there have been a total of 42 fatal RWP accidents, in which 44 roadway workers have perished, as of January 1, 2012. The FAMES Committee was able to obtain data to analyze 39 fatal RWP accidents, which accounted for 41 of the 44 fatalities. The FAMES Committee analysis is based on the available data.

The FAMES Committee analysis identified that a significant number of fatal incidents occurred in the one-hour period from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. These fatalities occurred across multiple forms of On-Track Safety, different crafts, and on single and multiple track territories. Although the data reviewed by the FAMES Committee was not definitive as to the reasons for this alarming spike, the data indicates an elevated number of fatalities occurred following a typical meal period.

Several Class I railroads have identified a similar pattern on their properties and have developed programs to refocus roadway worker attention to the job demands prior to returning to duty from lunch and other periods of inactivity. Various methods can be employed to enhance the mental and physical readiness of roadway workers after periods of inactivity. The FAMES Committee believes one of the most important and effective of these is to conduct an on-track safety rebriefing before resuming activities foul of any track. Additional methods to enhance on-track safety awareness should also be considered.

• Roadway Workers should focus on the safety risk of transitioning from a sedentary period to an active work environment. • 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. • Roadway Workers should participate in a Job Safety Re-Briefing after extended periods of inactivity, such as meal periods, travel time, etc.
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.