Friday, November 28, 2014

Fatigue, workload concerns in disaster

OTTAWA—A train operator’s level of fatigue, sleep patterns and ability to “make effective, safe decisions” were among the risk factors singled out in Transport Canada guidelines for single-person train operations—advice that was finalized just months before the Lac-Megantic rail disaster.
More than a dozen “human factors” such as amount of sleep, health, age, lifestyle and workload demands—and the best way to deal with them—were flagged for departmental rail safety reviewers, records obtained under the Access to Information Act show.

The Transport Canada guidelines, finalized May 13, 2013, were intended to help Transport Canada staff evaluate risk assessments filed by railways operating trains with just a single employee.
On July 6 last year, a 72-car train parked for the night came loose and rolled into the town of Lac-Megantic, Que., creating a fireball that killed 47 people, destroyed buildings and contaminated waterways.
The now-defunct Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. and three employees of the company—including the train’s sole operator—face charges of criminal negligence causing death.
The board is set to release its final report tomorrow on the devastating accident, including the railway’s use of a one-man crew on the route.

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