New Report! Railroad Employees’ Use of Personal Electronic Devices and Safety Implications [Research Study]

Electronic-guidelinesA recent report, published in June 2014 by the U.S. Department of Transportation, discusses the impact of distraction from personal (and company-issued) electronic devices (PED) on safety-critical railroad employees. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Office of Research and Development and Office of Railroad Safety conducted two studies to assess the potential distractions caused by PEDs in response to the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008. This report examines these two studies, which together shed light on how personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, affect railroad safety. The findings provide a baseline for outreach and education programs intended to reduce this kind of distraction.

The Studies

The first study began in 2010, and involved interviews with railroad employees coupled with analyses of railroad efficiency and accident databases. Study II began in 2012, and used focus groups and individual interviews to build upon the findings of Study I. Through data gathered from locomotive engineers, conductors, dispatchers, and car inspectors, the study discovered more information about employees’ use of PED and their attitudes about their impact on safety.

The Outcome

The results of these studies indicate that if the federal rule on PEDs is expanded, it should be customized to specific crafts. Some good news is that neither study found substantial evidence of frequent inappropriate use of PEDs while on the job, although the researchers recommend further study into this area.

Why This Is So Important

Although the study did not find significant evidence of PED distraction, it is still an issue that railroad employees must be extremely vigilant about. We have seen too many cases of distracted employees causing catastrophic accidents to ignore this important safety issue, including the incidents in Chatsworth, CA and Spain. It is great that the government acknowledges the impact PEDs have on railroad safety, and that they’re taking action. These studies may lead to better legislation that protects everyone. However, the people who absolutely must be aware of the danger of PEDs and take appropriate action are the railroad employees themselves. Only the front line employee can make the decision to not engage in this dangerous behaviour while on the job.

PDF Download the free report: “Safety of Railroad Employees’ Use of Personal Electronic Devices”. >> Complete Packaging Systems works closely with all rail carriers and shippers to ensure compliance standards are met on a consistent basis. Should you wish for one of our securement specialists to review your loading practices, please do not hesitate to contact us. More from Complete Packaging Systems: