Municipal accidents are often followed by blame and time spent by many people investigating. That’s in full-force here as this accident consumes three months of the state’s time and money figuring out that the city was negligent in two ways: hazardous work conditions and failure to provide adequate protective systems for its employees. Post-accident investigations are important and opportunities to learn, but if the focus is to assign blame (e.g. crime and punishment), they are a waste of time and money. Fining a municipality will unlikely alter future behaviors. Instead, investigations should be focused on root-cause analysis, leading to
It’s all too easy to shrug an accident off like this and say, “What could I have done?” After all, they couldn’t control that the train crossed the tracks. That may be true, but we have some questions as well. Why were those workers in the back of the train, unprotected? What’s the contingency plan for worst-case scenario? Take a critical look at your operation and ask yourself, are we ready for the worst case scenario? In other words, are we expecting the unexpected? The effort now is well-worth the potential risk of costing someone their life.
We don’t know much about why this accident happened, but we do know it could have been prevented. People cause accidents when they fail to pay attention, exceed their performance capabilities, or develop patterns of unsafe behaviors. The accident discussed in this article could have been any one of these three reasons. Create a safety culture through effective training and your constant presence as a safety leader. Remind your employees to always be aware of their environment; to work smart (and safe) rather than harder or faster; to check themselves and recognize potentially unsafe behaviors in which they repeatedly
We are not passing judgement regarding the decision to charge the auto driver with vehicular homicide. It is was it is. However, we will note that the tragedy continues. In such an event, everyone suffers. Our PennDOT employee died while doing his job. He was trying to warn motorists, who were faced with adverse conditions, about a collision ahead. The car driver probably needed that warning a few minutes earlier and perhaps he would have adjusted his speed. Anytime our workers become pedestrians in live traffic, the potential for loss sky-rockets. Please be sure you people avoid such situations
Had this driver been trained to do a pre-trip inspection, it’s possible this tragedy could have been prevented. We don’t want to cast stones and blame the driver, but we do want to focus on prevention. Every accident is caused by human behavior. In this case, the driver may have been distracted, speeding or carelessly changing lanes. We don’t have enough information to get to the root cause, but we do know the brakes were bad and could have contributed. And, a good pre-trip inspection would have eliminated at least that one risk factor and potentially saved a life.
This tragic fatal accident may have several causal factors, but the single solution for managing the risk that led to this event is to isolate city employees from live traffic. That I, to place a barrier between pedestrian workers and traffic. Of course, this is a unusual case. Here, an unoccupied car being loaded onto a tow truck, breaks loose and rolls fast enough to strike and kill Lilianna. If there had been an effective barrier around her, she would not have been harmed. We must do a better job of isolating workers from live traffic.
We don’t have all the facts, but we suspect this driver was on his phone, texting or otherwise distracted. It would be nearly impossible to fail to notice a class 8 truck, pulled all the way off the road with flashing amber lights. Please warn you people that even with warning signs and flashing lights, they still face risk every day. The motoring public rarely does what they are “supposed” to do. Expect them to misbehave