View article in its entirety at The Star.
— Author: Brennan Doherty
One of the biggest concerns for engineers is fatigue — and it isn’t confined to one particular company. According to an annual watchlist from the Transportation Safety Board, an independent investigator charged with improving safety practices, sleep-related fatigue issues have been a contributing factor in 31 railway incidents since the early 1990s.
“Fatigue management … has long proved challenging for employers and employees — notably because of unpredictable start times in freight operations, long duty hours, and rotating day and night shifts,” the watchlist reads.
Dave Law, a CN conductor, said railway workers are still expected to show up for work well-rested, regardless of when they’re ordered to report for duty. Turning down shifts can lead to harassment from managers, he said, so workers will sometimes show up tired.
The issue of scheduling has been a sore point in union negotiations. Conductors reported working anywhere between 30 and 70 hours a week, depending on the volume of freight shipped at any given time.