Notes from BCSA Railway Town Hall Meetings 2015

BC Safety Authority held three Town Hall meetings for railway clients during the month of September. Representatives from Common Carrier, Industrial, Siding and Spur and Heritage railways were in attendance.

Monday September 14th     New Westminster, British Columbia
Attendees: Canfor Pulp Taylor, Mitsui Homes Canada, Southern Railway BC, BCR Properties, BCIT Training Railway, Western Forest Products Woss, Canexus North Vancouver, Lehigh Cement Delta, Fraser Valley Heritage Railway, RTC Rail Solutions, Railtime Consultancy.

Tuesday September 15th      Prince George, British Columbia
Attendees: Pinnacle Renewable Energy, Westfraser Lumber Quesnel, Chetwynd Mechanical Pulp, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Quesnel, Lafarge Fort St John, Dunkley Lumber, Quesnel River Pulp, Carrier Lumber Prince George, Prince George Pulp & Paper, RTC Rail Solutions, Universal Railway Operations.

Thursday September 17th           Kamloops, British Columbia
Attendees: Sullivan Mine & Railway Historical Society, Tolko Armstrong Lumber, Kamloops Heritage Railway, Moly-Cop, HCA Mountain Minerals, Tolko Heffley Creek, RTC Rail Solutions, Universal Rail Systems.


The main points of discussion were as follows:

A Year in Review:

  • Once again we did not have a fatality related to railway operations on a provincially regulated railway in the past year. There were fatalities on the commuter railways which are not attributed to the railways operations, these were suicides.
  • BCSA continues to develop its “As Found Hazards’ method of rating risk. Risks are rated on a scale of one through five, five being the highest risk. This is applied to the non compliances observed by our Safety Officers. Therefore each non compliance can carry a different weight based on the hazard it represents. The weight of the non compliances determines how the clients fees are annually assessed, not necessarily the number of non compliances. This same process also applies to accidents. It is the severity of the accident not necessarily the number of accidents that affects the clients fees.
  • BCSA intends to partner with BCIT in the new year in producing a series of railway safety videos which will be posted on the BCSA website. The first video will deal with safely securing railway equipment.


Railway Web Page Review:

  • The following items on BCSA’s Railway web page were reviewed:
  • Annual Statistics
  • Railway Safety Directives on Blue Flags and Clearance
  • Consultant Matrix
  • Railway Supervisor Transfer Process
  • Railway Risk Assessment Form
  • Annual Statistics (Railway Statistics on webpage)
  • The first graph shows that the number of Industrial Railways and Sidings and Spurs has remained steady since 2014. This is because we have pulled back in our efforts to identify new rail operations in the province due to limited resources. We have surveyed most of the province and will focus on capturing those operations that are not part of the system in the new year. The last area we will focus on is the Greater Vancouver area.
  • The Accidents and Incidents graph shows that there has been a decrease in accidents year to date in 2015. This can be attributed in part due to a lockout at SRY which saw the company cut service and run with management personnel. One possible explanation for their dramatic drop in accidents was that management crews were shadowed by locked out union members who scrutinized their switching. We believe this speaks to the effectiveness of proficiency testing and having trained supervisors observe their rail crews working.
  • The Injury graph shows that there was a marked decline in the number of railway related injuries to date in 2015.
  • The Audit and Recommendation graph shows that we have done three audits year to date. We will have 6 audits complete by the end of 2015.
  • The Assessment, Non-compliances and Recommendations graph shows there have been fewer Assessments conducted this years, though by the end of the year the numbers will be the same. Non compliances are up marginally and recommendations are up. Recommendations are at the discretion of the Safety Officers and reflect their belief that the infractions are minor in nature and do not warrant non compliances.
  • The Railway Enforcement graph shows that we have issued four notices and four notices and orders this year in comparison to none for the previous year.
  • The As Found Condition graph gives the level of the hazard found in the non-compliances that were issued. The as found numbers are down year to date, however we expect at year’s end to have similar numbers.


The 2015 Railway Safety Assessment topics included:

  • Proficiency Testing/Job Observation Records
  • Accident Record Review
  • Track Inspections
  • Railway Employee Survey
  • Annual SMS Audit
  • Rail Crew Training Certification
  • Locomotive or Car Moving Equipment Inspection Records
  • Confirmation of Railway Employee Medical Exams
  • Review of any Risk Assessment Conducted by the Railway in the last year

Annual Assessment – Observations from the Safety Officers from their Assessments:

  • Annual SMS Audits are still not being performed. Annual audits of each railways SMS is a requirement of the SMS Guidelines and necessary to ensure the SMS remains relevant.
  • Qualifications of railway trainers. BCSA noticed that not all employees performing the role of training supervisors were qualified to do the job.
  • Railways should be cognizant of the qualifications of the people they employ to train their railway employees, see the new BCSA Consultant Matrix available on our webpage.
  • Some railway consultants have been training IROR not CROR. IROR is an Alberta based rules package and is not recognized in BC. CROR training is required as it is consistent with the rules the service providers, CN & CP use.
  • Railways are often not familiar with the training requirements supplied in the matrix in the Railway Employee Qualification Standards regulation. CROR is being taught every 3 years, but employees are not getting the refresher in air brakes, TDG and Trackmobile Operation.
  • BCSA is still finding that remedial action dates are missing from track inspections reports. Ensure you go over your track inspections with your inspector and understand which items have to be dealt with immediately and document the repair dates.
  • Accident reporting. BCSA Safety Officers have found that not all railway accidents have been reported to BCSA. This is a legal requirement and failure to report an accident can result in your risk level being raised to high with the attached fees.
  • Supervisor handovers still not occurring in industry.  New supervisors are put in place with little or no knowledge of the Railway Safety Program. BCSA has drafted a Railway Supervisor Transfer Process document available on our webpage to help railways understand what information is required to be transferred to the incoming supervisor.
  • Not all railway supervisors have undergone the training program provided to the employees they supervise.  Often the railway supervisor is not qualified to supervise the employees doing the job, and not able to perform job observations on the employees.


General Discussion

Preparation for your annual  railway safety assessment affects your annual fees.  BCSA scores each railway on the result of their annual assessment. If you are not prepared for the Railway Safety Officer’s visit this will work against your score. Railway Safety Officers continue to encounter new railway supervisors who have not received an adequate transfer of information from their predecessor. It is essential to railway safety on each industrial and heritage site that new supervisors are made familiar with the railway program and their obligations under their SMS. BCSA has created a Railway Supervisor Transfer Process document available on our webpage to assist railways in the smooth transfer of knowledge to the incoming railway supervisor.

  • Training standards continue to be scrutinized by Railway Safety Officers. It is the railway’s responsibility to ensure their employees are adequately trained to the standards set out in the regulations. It is also the railway’s responsibility to exercise their due diligence when hiring consultants to train their employees. To that end BCSA has developed a railway Consultant Matrix to assist railways in this process. Railways will be held accountable regarding who they hire to do their training. If a Railway Safety Officer after reviewing your documentation determines you have employed an unqualified consultant to train your employees you may be required to redo your training with a qualified individual.
  • Since Lac Mégantic Transport Canada has issued numerous changes to railway rules and regulations, which include the Grade Crossing regulation among others. Currently these changes have not been adopted by the province of BC and BCSA’s webpage continues to reflect the old rules and regulations. In the new year BCSA will review the changes made to the rules and regulations and recommend the province adopt the new versions. The exception being the new SMS regulation. BCSA has reviewed the new railway SMS regulation and decided to recommend the province not adopt it. It is BCSA’s opinion that the changes made to this regulation do not provide a higher level of safety to the Industrial and Heritage railways and do not warrant the time required by both BCSA and our railway clients for its implementation.
  • Railway Association of Canada (RAC) has recently issued a new version of CROR to become effective on October 14, 2015. BCSA has yet to review the difference package between the existing CROR and the new version regarding its effect on Industrial and Heritage railways. Once we have done so we will advise all concerned of the relevant changes to the applicable rules.
  • One of the changes made to the new railway SMS regulation is a significant emphasis on risk assessment. While BCSA will not be adopted the new SMS  regulation we will be looking at risk assessment on the railways we regulate. All railways are expected to conduct and document risk assessments when applicable. BCSA’s website now has a risk assessment form that railways may use to document this process.

Railway Accident Involving Crossing Collision

Railway Safety Advisory
Date of Issue: September 24, 2015
Advisory No. R2015-09-24


The following advisory is to inform provincially regulated railways of a railway related safety concern.

On September 21, 2015 an employee at an industrial site sustained injuries after the forklift he was operating was struck by a train as he attempted to cross the railway tracks. The accident occurred along a paved portion of the track that allows for crossing at any point within the rail yard.  


While the results of the investigation into this event are still pending, all provincial

railways with tracks that have unlimited crossing locations within their yard must perform the following. As part of Section “E & F” within your Safety Management System (SMS), conduct and document a risk assessment as to where vehicles cross the tracks on your site and state what measures are in place to prevent collisions with railway equipment.  BCSA Railway Safety Officers will be reviewing the risk assessments during the 2016 audit season.

Additional Information

For more information about risk assessment you can follow these links:


For additional information please contact the BCSA Railway Safety Program administration at 778‐396‐2044 or email at bcsa.railway@safetyauthority.ca

Eric Samuelson
Provincial Railway Safety Manager
British Columbia Safety Authority

Railway Supervisor Transfer Process

BCSA Railway Safety Program

The following document has been created to assist British Columbia provincial railways in managing their safety. Whenever a supervisor who is responsible for a railway’s Safety Management System (SMS) is replaced, the following process should occur.

The Incoming supervisor must:

  • Be made aware of the railway’s SMS;
  • Be made conversant with the SMS document;
  • Contact the BCSA as soon as possible to report the change and establish the new relationship;
  • Enter into a training program that provides them with an understanding of railway operations;
  • Develop a clear understanding of the railway’s safety history;
  • Develop a clear understanding of the railway’s compliance history;
  • Develop the ability to understand railway accidents and incidents;

The competent and qualified supervision of railway employees is the foundation of railway safety. Supervisors who have not been trained or provided with the knowledge to manage railway safety are a risk to safe railway operations. If a railway is replacing a supervisor, the provided list will help them quickly establish an understanding that will allow them to perform their duties.

BCSA is informing all provincial railways that failure to follow this process may lead to the termination of an annual audit, which may result in enforcement action against the railway.

Railway Risk Assessment Form

2015 Railway Consultant and Contractor Matrix

Railway 2015 Statistics (YTD)

This webpage was updated: Sep 1 2015

The following charts and statistics provide details to railway safety activity in the province and identify accidents and incidents and compliance to regulation for the years up to 30 June 2015.

BC Railways in Operation
BC Railways Accident & Incident Data
BC Railways Injury Data
BC Railways Audit & Audit Recommendations
BC Railways Assessments, Non-Compliances & Assessment Recommendations
BC Railways Enforcement
BC Railways As Found Conditions

British Columbia Railways (in Operation)

Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.

British Columbia Railways Accident & Incident Data

Railways accident and incidents by railway class 2010 2015 Click to enlarge

Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.
Does not include non-railway related Accident & Incidents on Commuter Railways.
Industrial & Industrial Sidings and Spurs are reported as a single group.

British Columbia Railways Injury Data

Reported Railway Injuries 2010-2015 Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.


British Columbia Railways Audits & Audit Recommendations

Railway Audits and Recommendations 2010-2015 Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.

British Columbia Railways Assessments, Non-Compliances & Assessment Recommendations

Railways Assessments, Non-Compliances & Assessment Recommendations Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.


British Columbia Railways Enforcement

Railway Enforcements 2010-2015 Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.

As Found Conditions

As Found Conditions 2010-2015 Click to enlarge

Note: Covers January 1 to December 31 for years up to 2014 and January 1 to June 30 2015.

Railway Clearance

Railway Employee Fatality near Saskatoon Saskatchewan

Date of Issue: April 15, 2015     
Advisory No. R2015-04-09


The following advisory is to inform provincially regulated railways of a railway related safety concern.

On April 9, 2015 a conductor with 29 years experience was killed on the job when he was struck by railway equipment.

The worker was struck by a freight train, that was proceeding east on the CN Watrous Subdivision, when he was performing a mid train set off on his own train.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is in the process of investigating this event.


In the performance of railway operations, rules and safe work procedures must be followed. As part of Section “H” in your Safety Management System (SMS) each railway should have procedures for compliance and proficiency testing in all disciplines and for record keeping and follow-up corrective action such as additional training.

Proficiency testing is performed by a supervisor and involves periodic observation of an employee's on-the-job performance for compliance to a set of core CROR rules and safe work practices outlined in the companies SWP or GOIs. Testing should be routinely performed for employees and managers who regularly work in the field.

Additional Information

The Sofa Working Group has posted the following recommendations.

In an effort to reduce injuries and fatalities, the Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA- link below) working group recommends railway workers practice the following:

  1. Secure all equipment before action is taken.
  2. Protect employees against moving equipment.
  3. Discuss safety at the beginning of a job or when work changes.
  4. Communicate before action is taken.
  5. Mentor less experienced employees to perform service safely.


All provincial railways should take a moment to review their own safety procedures.

For additional information please contact the BCSA Railway Safety Program administration at 778‐396‐2044 or email at bcsa.railway@safetyauthority.ca

Download printable version


Eric Samuelson
Provincial Railway Safety Manager
British Columbia Safety Authority