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FRA issues safety advisory, recommendations regarding rail car switching

On October 11, 2011, Joe Szabo of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued a new advisory to the railroad industry in order to prevent injuries related to switching operations between railcars and other dangerous workplace behaviors.

Szabo stated that the industry must strive for "meticulous safety compliance," and workers should put workplace safety above the speed of train movement.

"Safety is our number one priority, and we are committed to protecting the welfare of our rail workers," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a recent release. "This advisory stresses the importance of taking necessary precautions and putting safety first."

In recent months, three railroad industry workers have lost their lives after being caught between rolling equipment. The FRA is issuing the Safety Advisory to heighten compliance with established safety rules in place to protect employees who have to work between rolling equipment..

The advisory notes that although railroad safety has significantly improved over the years, the fatal events that have taken place in recent months indicate more work should be done to improve safety.

When working in rail yards, employees need to follow all established safety guidelines, be aware of their surroundings at all times, and always wear appropriate safety products, such as work gloves, to protect from hazards that may be present in the workplace.