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Watchman dies after being struck by freight train while assisting in snow clearing from train tracks - Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Health
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 03MA066, 2006 Jul; :1-7
On December 6, 2003, a 59-year-old male watchman (the victim) was fatally injured while assisting with clearing snow from a pedestrian walkway that intersected train tracks at a train station. The victim's main task, as a watchman, was to look out for oncoming trains and warn the work crew of approaching trains. At the time of the incident, the work crew's first notification of the approaching freight train was when the train sounded its horn. The victim and one other coworker were located in-between two sets of tracks snow blowing when they heard the train's horn. The victim had been attempting to jump out of the way of the approaching train when the train struck him. The victim landed on his left side with his head and upper body covered with snow. After the train passed a coworker went over to the victim and started clearing the snow from around him. A call was placed for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). EMS responded to the incident site within minutes. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Massachusetts FACE Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, railroad transportation companies/agencies should: 1. Ensure that watchmen/lookouts are performing only train approach detection tasks; 2. Ensure that the train approach warning method used is appropriate for the work site location and current weather conditions; 3. Ensure that roadway workers are trained in safe operating procedures for on-track work; 4. Ensure that work crews have access to the schedules of all trains that will pass through their work area; and, 5. Ensure that all train stations and locations where workers are routinely on or near the tracks have both visual and audio train approach warning systems.
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Training; Warning-devices; Warning-signals; Warning-systems; Railroad-industry; Railroads
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-03MA066; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division