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Union urges Class Is to enroll in ‘Close Call’ safety reporting system

By Admin

Reported by Progressive Railroading.

The Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO has urged the CEOs of six major freight railroads operating in the United States to formally join the federal Confidential Close Call Reporting System.

The system enables rail workers to confidentially report “close call” safety incidents to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) without fear of retaliation by their employers.

To date Amtrak, many commuter-rail and short-line companies are part of the program, but Class Is have yet to participate. The union wrote to the CEOs of Norfolk Southern Railway, BNSF Railway Co., CSX, CN, Canadian Pacific Kansas City and Union Pacific Railroad.

Following public pressure from rail unions and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg following the Feb. NS hazmat train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, the Association of American Railroads pledged that all Class Is would join the voluntary system, TTD officials noted in a press release.

“However, nearly six months have passed and none of the railroads have delivered on their promise to participate in the safety system,” the union said.

The Feb. 3 train derailment “brought national attention to the freight-rail industry’s safety culture and its failures,” the union stated. “Rail labor calls on the industry to take this step towards safety improvement and better serve workers and communities.”

In a March 2 letter to Buttigieg, AAR President and CEO Ian Jefferies noted that all Class Is have programs in place that allow employees to confidentially report safety issues. Some railroads have participated in the federal Close Call program in the past, but dropped out because the federal program “was viewed as less effective than their existing programs,” Jefferies wrote.

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