Safety Advisory: Protection of railway employees working in the vicinity of equipment that may be coupled to
This Safety Advisory is being issued to provincially-regulated railways and is subject to the Railway Act, Railway Safety Act, and associated regulations.
Date of Revision: March 10, 2020
There is a hazard to safe railway operations when railway switching crews couple to and/or move railway equipment while employees are working in the vicinity of or physically attached to said railway equipment.
All provincially regulated railways must have rules and procedures in place to protect employees that work in the vicinity of equipment that may be coupled to or moved.
All provincially regulated railways must comply with Canadian Rail Operating Rule (CROR) 26. Blue Signal Protection, which states in part:
A blue flag by day, and in addition a blue light by night or when day signals cannot be plainly seen, displayed at one or both ends of equipment indicates that workmen are in the vicinity of such equipment. On a track which permits entry of a movement from one end only, a blue signal displayed between the equipment and the switch permitting entry indicates that workmen are in the vicinity of such equipment. When such signals are displayed the equipment must not be coupled to or moved.
Additionally, railways may also implement the following industry best practice procedures for protecting employees working near or in the vicinity of railway equipment, which includes the loading or unloading of rail cars or making repairs to railway equipment:
- Line all available switches to prevent entry into the track where work is being performed and apply special locks; or
- Install a permanent or temporary derail(s) to the track where work is being performed, such that would prevent a movement from approaching and coupling onto the equipment being worked on or repaired.
Note: These rules and procedures in no way remove the obligation to comply with Canadian Rail Operating Rule (CROR) 113. Coupling to Equipment.
Failure to provide adequate protection to employees working in the vicinity of equipment that may be coupled to or moved may result in enforcement measures being taken against the railway. The railway is responsible for ensuring the safety of its employees from movements by its service provider, or the railway’s own switching crew.
Technical Leader, Railway
Technical Safety BC
For additional information, please contact Technical Safety BC’s railway program administration at 778 396 2063 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.