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On August 17, 2014, at 2:28 a.m. central daylight time, southbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) freight train IMASNL-16 (southbound train) collided with northbound UP freight train IQNLPI-17 (northbound train) at milepost 228.6, while traversing the turnout at control point Y 229 on the UP Hoxie subdivision in Hoxie, Arkansas. Going north, the track in the area transitions from a single main track into two main tracks. As a result of the collision, the engineer and the conductor from the southbound train died, and the engineer and the conductor from the northbound train were seriously injured. The southbound train consisted of 2 locomotives and 86 cars; the northbound train consisted of 2 locomotives and 92 cars. The locomotives from both trains derailed and the second locomotive from the northbound train released diesel fuel, resulting in a fire. A total of 55 cars derailed, 41 cars from the southbound train and 14 cars from the northbound train. About 500 people within a 1.5-mile radius of the derailment were evacuated as a precaution. One tank car loaded with alcohol for human consumption breached and burned. The product posed no environmental hazard and emergency responders allowed the product to burn out. Damage was estimated by UP to be $10.7 million. The safety issues covered in this report include: fatigue and employee work schedules, medical issues, UP medical rules, automated systems that reset alertness devices, and positive train control. As a result of the investigation of this accident, the National Transportation Safety Board makes new safety recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration; BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Intercity Railroads, and Commuter Railroads; Class I Railroads; and Union Pacific Railroad. Further, the National Transportation Safety Board reiterates two recommendations to the Federal Railroad Administration.
TO UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD: Revise your medical rules to add any diagnosed sleep disorder to the list of medical conditions that employees in safety-sensitive positions must report and, when an employee makes such a report, perform periodic evaluations to ensure the condition is appropriately treated and the employee is fit for duty.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Hoxie, AR, United States
Railroad Accident Report: Collision of Two Union Pacific Railroad Freight Trains
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
Union Pacific (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
We note that you are currently developing a set of medical fitness-for-duty guidelines that include diagnosed sleep disorders, which will be used to determine whether an employee’s health condition poses a significant safety risk and warrants further restrictions. Should an employee be diagnosed with a sleep disorder requiring treatment, the employee will be subject to periodic evaluations to ensure the condition is treated. Pending completion of these guidelines and the associated policies and procedures for handling employees whose health may pose a safety risk, Safety Recommendation R-16-47 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Rodney N. Doerr, Vice President-Safety & Chief Safety Officer: Union Pacific is currently developing a set of medical fitness-for-duty guidelines that include diagnosed sleep disorders that will be relied upon in determining whether an employee’s health condition poses a significant safety risk and warrants further restrictions. Should an employee be diagnosed with a sleep disorder requiring treatment, the employee will be subject to periodic evaluations to ensure treatment of the condition. These guidelines will apply to all employees who work in safety critical positions, defined as jobs where the essential job functions or work environment may create significant safety risks for the employee or public safety. Union Pacific anticipates having these guidelines in place by year’s end. Thank you for the opportunity to communicate with you regarding Union Pacific’s responses to NTSB’s Hoxie, Arkansas recommendations. We appreciate the dedication of your investigative professionals, their pursuit of meaningful recommendations, and their tireless commitment to safety. We look forward to working with you in the future.
On December 19, 2016, we adopted our report concerning the August 17, 2014, accident, in which two UP freight trains collided on the UP Hoxie subdivision in Hoxie, Arkansas.1 Additional information about this accident and the resulting recommendations may be found in the report of the investigation, which can be accessed at our website, http://www.ntsb.gov, under report number RAR-16/03. As a result of this investigation, we reiterated Safety Recommendations R-13-21 and R-12-16 to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA); and issued five new recommendations, including two to the FRA; one to BNSF Railway, Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway, CSX Transportation, Kansas City Southern Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Intercity Railroads, and Commuter Railroads; and the following recommendation to the Class I Railroads, including UP.
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