Safety Advisory: Risk of uncontrolled movements of improperly secured railway rolling stock

Safety Advisory

Safety Advisory: Risk of uncontrolled movements of improperly secured railway rolling stock

April 7, 2020

Safety Advisory

Reference Number:

SA-RW 2020-02

This Safety Advisory is being issued to provincially-regulated railways and is subject to the Railway Act, Railway Safety Act, and associated regulations.



There is a hazard to safe railway operations when rolling stock is improperly secured, which may result in an uncontrolled movement. Uncontrolled movements of rolling stock may result in collisions and derailments, potentially leading to serious injury, and/or environmental and property damage.

Since January 1, 2020, Technical Safety BC has received four reported railway occurrences from provincially-regulated railways involving uncontrolled movements. This number is unusually high as there were six railway occurrences involving uncontrolled movements reported in total by provincially-regulated railways in the entirety of 2019.


Recommended actions

All provincially regulated railways must comply with Canadian Rail Operating Rule (CROR) 112. Securing Equipment, which states in part:

When equipment is left unattended, it must be secured to prevent it from moving unintentionally. … Equipment is considered unattended when an employee is not in close enough proximity to take effective action to stop the equipment should it move unintentionally.

If handbrakes are used as a means of securement, their effectiveness must be tested as per CROR 112(vi), Testing Handbrake Effectiveness:

When testing the effectiveness of hand brakes, ensure all air brakes are released and:

  1. allow the slack to adjust. It must be apparent when slack runs in or out, that the hand brakes are sufficient to prevent the equipment from moving; or
  2. apply sufficient tractive effort to determine that the hand brakes prevent the equipment from moving when tractive effort is terminated.

If the effectiveness of hand brakes is not sufficient to prevent the equipment from moving, apply one or more additional hand brakes and re-test.

Following proper procedures when securing equipment is imperative to safe railway operations. Provincially-regulated railways should immediately communicate to their employees the importance and requirements of Canadian Rail Operating Rule 112. Securing Equipment, and any related General Operating Instructions and Safe Work Procedures.

If your railway is unclear on the proper application of procedures for securing equipment, please contact Technical Safety BC for clarification. Failure to properly secure railway equipment may result in enforcement measures being taken against the railway.


Arne Vigen
Technical Leader, Railway
Technical Safety BC

For additional information, please contact Technical Safety BC’s railway program administration at 778 396 2063 or email