TSB releases new Watchlist, adopts a more proactive approach on key safety issues

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) released its latest safety Watchlist, at the same time announcing a more proactive approach to engage government and industry leaders in dialogue and action that leads to safety improvements across Canada's transportation network.
"No longer is it enough to point out a problem and wait for others to take notice," said TSB chair Kathy Fox. "In the next few days and weeks, we'll meet with key stakeholders to push for concrete action, and then we'll report publicly on the results."

This year's edition of the Watchlist, which identifies the key safety issues that need to be addressed in the air, marine and rail sectors, features the addition of two new issues.

"Fatigue has been a factor in numerous railway investigations, most notably regarding freight train operations," said Fox. "Too many train crews aren't getting the rest they need, whether it's shifts that are too long or irregular scheduling that interferes with normal sleep times. It's time for the railway industry to start applying fatigue science to crew scheduling, instead of calling for more studies."

Fox said the second new issue is Transport Canada's slow progress addressing previous TSB recommendations, something that affects all aspects of the transportation network, with potentially adverse outcomes.

"There are currently 52 TSB recommendations that have been outstanding for 10 years or more. Over three dozen of those have been outstanding for more than twenty years," she said. "There is no reasonable excuse for taking that long — especially in cases where (Transport Canada) agrees that action is needed."

Fox added that "good intentions" on the part of the government aren't enough to reduce the very real safety risks that must be addressed.

"If that were enough, the same accidents wouldn't keep happening and we wouldn't need a Watchlist."

Of the other issues on this year's Watchlist, Fox said safety management systems have not yet been mandated in all sectors of the transportation industry, and Transport Canada must oversee them effectively.

The safety culture in the fishing industry needs to change to prevent needless loss of life and injuries.

In spite of strong safety measures taken by Transport Canada regarding transportation of flammable liquids by rail, the risk will persist in the system until the new tank car standards and effective risk controls are fully implemented.

There still isn't a plan in place to implement physical defences against railway signal indications not being followed.

The railway industry is not reaping the safety benefits of on-board voice and video recorders in locomotive cabs.

Airlines need to better track unstable approaches that continue to a landing to prevent accidents. While some airports are making runway ends safer to reduce the risk of runway overruns, there is no requirement to do so for all major airports.

Lastly, the risk of runway incursions is too high, which could lead to a catastrophic accident.

Watchlist 2016 issues

•Safety management and oversight
•Slow progress addressing TSB recommendations

•Commercial fishing safety

•Fatigue management systems for train crews
•?Following railway signal indications
•On-board voice and video recorders
•Transportation of flammable liquids by rail

•Risk of collisions on runways
•Runway overruns
•Unstable approaches.