The increasing number of accidents and injuries involving CSX Transportation indicates that the company is negligently placing workers and the general public in danger. Six years ago, CSX had one of the best safety records in the nation among Class 1 railroads. That is no longer the case and if the trend continues on its current trajectory, the company could reach new lows in the coming year.
Rising Rates of Accidents and Injuries
The number of accidents involving CSX trains rose 12% last year. At the same time, the rate of personal injuries rose 13%. From 2013 through 2017, the number of accidents involving CSX trains has risen 73%. These are significant increases that are raising alarms within the Federal Railroad Administration. For railroad workers, the sharp increase in accidents and injuries means that every day on the job presents a significant risk to their personal safety.
It is asserted that the rising rates of accidents and injuries are the result of significant changes within the management structure, operating rules, and requirements for front-line employees made by the former CEO E. Hunter Harrison.
These changes were made following pressure from shareholders and shippers to improve the financial and operational condition of the company. In many instances, the changes made by Harrison had previously been deemed unsafe by previous executives. There is a direct correlation between these changes and both the frequency and types of accidents that are taking place.
Among the dangerous changes made within CSX are new rules that raised the restricted speed within railroad yards from 15 mph to 20 mph. The company has also shortened the amount of time that employees have to inspect trains.
At the same time, the company has eliminated the position of road foremen of engines and assigned these duties to trainmasters. This has increased the workload on trainmasters and diminished the supervision of engineers and conductors. These changes mean that fewer people are doing more work with less oversight. This is creating a potentially deadly situation that impacts everyone responsible for the safe transport of goods and cargo via the rail network. Ultimately, it is clear that safety has taken a back seat to profit at CSX and those that are paying the price are the workers and the general public who must suffer the injuries and wrongful deaths resulting from negligent management.