C8/2001R Train dispatcher injured in shunting work at Eno on 17 August, 2001

On Friday 17 August 2001, a train dispatcher was injured in shunting work on Eno railway yard. He was travelling in a track machine heading to a turnout when he fell from a ladder step in the track machine. He was standing on the lowest step of the ladder holding the handrails above the ladder with his hands. In his right hand he moreover held a key taken from the derailer. The track machine having travelled about ten metres, the dispatcher fell down from the step to the side of the track and turned over on his right side on a siding. The speed of the track machine was about 5 to 10 km/h.

As a result of the incident, the train dispatcher broke the thighbone of his left leg, and the wrist of his right arm was fractured. The resulting injuries caused the dispatcher a several months long sick leave.

The relevant investigations conducted failed to disclose an unambiguous cause of the accident; nevertheless it is reasonable to assume that the steepness of the steps of the ladder in the track machine and the resulting unnatural standing position contributed to the dispatcher slipping and falling down from the step. Moreover it is possible that the knee of the dispatcher, which had been surgically operated one year before, quite suddenly lost its strength. The dispatcher having fallen from the moving track machine, it was furthermore difficult for him to stand up as due to the coarse unlevelled ballast.

In order to prevent corresponding accidents, the Accident Investigation Board of Finland recommends that the vertical ladders in the Tka7 track machine ends be replaced by substantially less steep step-ladders, in case these ladders are the only ones in the machines. Such ladders have actually already been installed in some track machines.

C8/2001R Report (pdf, 0.34 Mt)

•Recommendation S174

Published 17.8.2001