Transportation Board launches probe after East Palestine train crash
This comes mere hours after Norfolk Southern confirmed the death of a third employee in Cleveland, Ohio.
More than a month after a Norfolk Southern Railway train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the launch of investigations into the company registered under the train.
That comes mere hours after Norfolk Southern confirmed the death of an employee in Cleveland, Ohio, as a result. Four other train derailments have occurred, which contributed to the launch of the probes, including the deaths of two other employees or contractors.
Greg Regan, president of the Transportation Trades Department, stated: “We mourn the loss of the Norfolk Southern conductor who was killed on the job today,” adding: “and hope that this investigation will lead to real reforms to create a safer industry for workers and communities like East Palestine.”
That entails a “special investigation” into Norfolk Southern’s “organization and safety culture.”
“Given the number and significance of Norfolk Southern accidents,” the announcement stated, adding: “the NTSB also urges the company to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices, with the input of employees and others, and implement necessary changes to improve safety.”
The FRA announced a 60-day “supplemental safety assessment” of the railway.
'This is not who we are'
In response, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan H. Shaw declared his cooperation with the NTSB in its probe and vowed to hold “safety stand-down briefings” that would “reach” every employee.
In its statement, the train company stated its intentions to restructure and invest more in its safety policies.
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"This is not who we are, it is not acceptable, and it will not continue," the statement read.
The other four derailment occurrences involve a December 8, 2021 death of a contractor in Reed, Pennsylvania; another on December 13, 2022 employee death in Bessemer, Ohio; a train derailment in Springfield, Ohio, last Saturday; and a train derailment in Sandusky, Ohio, on October 28, 2022.
Railway labor unions have issued safety warnings and concerns in the railway industry and affirmed their welcoming of the joint investigations by the NTSB and FRA.
After the worst ecological disaster hit Ohio, causing a massive fire and the release of the toxic chemical vinyl chloride, Governor Mike DeWine invited evacuated residents to go back to their homes and drink from the polluted water, claiming it is "safe".
Residents of the town of East Palestine were evacuated when the derailment happened due to safety and health reasons. Animals died when the respiratory irritant toxin was largely released into the area.
In an interview with Sputnik, independent American journalist Nick Sortor slammed Joe Biden for his neglect of the victims of the chemical disaster in Ohio and proposed relocating a portion of the money designated for Ukraine's lethal aid to the casualties of the chemical disaster in Ohio.
"You think about the amount of money he sent to Ukraine. Right? We are talking about over 100 billion dollars. He has the ability to do that… to fix this issue and make sure the kids are safe and breathing clean air," Sortor said.