Safety board issues letters over rail crash that killed three workers in Woss

The safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry

The Transportation Safety Board has issued rail-safety advisories involving a crash in April of last year that killed three workers and injured two others in the Vancouver Island community of Woss.

A WorksafeBC report issued in October said decaying railway ties and the failure of a safety mechanism allowed rail cars at a Western Forest Products reload centre to run uncontrolled and hit two work equipment vehicles with the five men aboard.

The board’s report issued Wednesday adds to the conclusion, saying the 11 cars loaded with logs rolled away after a locking device between the cars inadvertently released.

The report also says a safety device meant to derail the runaway cars failed to work because the rail ties were deteriorating and the device hadn’t been adequately secured.

READ MORE: Faulty coupling cited as cause of fatal 2017 logging train derailment in Woss

The board issued two rail safety advisory letters after its investigation, including one to railways, regulators and associations over the use of visual verification to ensure locking devices between cars are secure.

It says another advisory letter went to B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation saying it may want to review how the derail devices are installed, maintained and inspected on properties operated by Western Forest Products.

The railway operated by the company is provincially regulated, but the safety board conducted the investigation at the request of the Transportation Ministry.

The company announced last month that the Englewood Train — believed to be the last operating logging railroad in North American — would shut down.

A statement from Western Forests Products issued on Wednesday said the crash will forever impact the families of those lost and injured, those who worked alongside them and the company as a whole.

“The safety and security of our employees is our number one priority. We continue to work to ensure that families, workers and all affected by this tragic incident are supported in any way we can,” said the statement.

The Canadian Press

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