Alberta Rail Safety Questioned After Workers Hit By Train

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CN RAIL
Alberta rail safety questioned after workers hit by train . | CN

The company that employed the three men who were struck and injured by a train while cleaning tracks east of Edmonton on Wednesday says changes will be made in light of the accident.

The three men — aged 20, 28 and 32 — work for A&B Rail Services, which was contracted by CN Rail. All three remain in hospital with serious injuries, according to Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.

The workers were using snow blowers and wearing hearing protection while cleaning the tracks.

The engineer of the train blew its horn repeatedly but the men did not appear to hear.

It’s the kind of accident people have been worried about for years, said Michael Piche of the United Steelworkers.

He said the trio should have had a spotter working with them.

“So that if a train is coming, they can have the guys move out of the way,” he said.

Federally regulated crews always consist of four people. But the men worked for A&B, and not CN Rail, so they were covered by provincial regulations, which don’t require a spotter.

Paul Brum, president of A&B, said the company had safety procedures in place, but admits that they didn’t work.

“Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with them and their loved ones,” he said in a release.

He said changes will be made to company's procedures, such as changing the equipment workers use.

Province issues stop work order

In the wake of the accident, Occupational Health and Safety hit the company with a stop work order, prohibiting workers from using noisy equipment to clear tracks.

“Once the occupational health and safety officer feels that those conditions are met, then the stop work order would be lifted,” said OHS spokeswoman Lisa Glover.

She said the department is investigating the incident.

The Transportation Safety Board, CN Rail and A&B have also launched separate investigations into the incident.

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