Author Topic: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"  (Read 1608 times)

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Philip H

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #30 on: June 09, 2021, 03:39:14 PM »
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lets just keep the drug testing...

And it's not up to the Railroads.. it's FRA mandated, so you'd have to convince them.

If no one is going to make a policy or regulatory change to reflect data then industrial sectors need to stop whinning about lacking the labor force they claim they want.

As to the FRA - I'm a fed; I can't lobby other federal agencies.  Railroads and unions are, however, not thusly constrained in the federal environment.
Philip H.
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learmoia

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #31 on: June 09, 2021, 04:10:46 PM »
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By the way, I wasn't hired because I wore glasses.

Doug

W T F?!?!?

If no one is going to make a policy or regulatory change to reflect data then industrial sectors need to stop whinning about lacking the labor force they claim they want.

As to the FRA - I'm a fed; I can't lobby other federal agencies.  Railroads and unions are, however, not thusly constrained in the federal environment.

I guess I'm not sure what your getting at... Your advocating to remove an element of employment related to safety standards that has a minimal impact on employment.. so why remove it..

Might not hurt to look at continued unemployment bonus pay or Class 1 furlough practices.

But other industries with better life styles are offering competitive pay so why take the railroad.

~Ian
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 04:12:46 PM by learmoia »
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Missaberoad

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #32 on: June 09, 2021, 04:57:46 PM »
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By the way, I wasn't hired because I wore glasses.

Doug

Bizarre, here at CP they provide us with prescription safety glasses.

It's amazing how many people at work have relatively small infractions (that would result in suspension or brownies) and wind up getting fired due to failing the drug/alcohol tests...

I'm pretty liberal when it comes to drug policies, but in a safety critical position that relies heavily on judgement based decisions and situational awareness you should be sober at work...

Like Scott said I already work with enough idiots at the railroad...
Ryan in Alberta

Philip H

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2021, 05:32:24 PM »
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I guess I'm not sure what your getting at... Your advocating to remove an element of employment related to safety standards that has a minimal impact on employment.. so why remove it..

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And all of those incidents are tested for drug and alcohol.. and I'd say 99 out of 100 are negative for both... and 99 out of 100 of those incidents are caused by human error / not following the rules.

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When the break was over, 6 out of the 28 people who were there previously returned to the meeting room.

If drug testing for marijuana (which we were reminded shows up days to weeks after use in detectable levels) impacts the applicant pool then perhaps it's inclusion in the hiring practices when its use is not resulting in incidents is not serving the railroad well.

The life style stuff is also problematic but eventually Rialroads will do something to address that if its impacting shareholders enough
Philip H.
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Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

mu26aeh

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #34 on: June 09, 2021, 06:42:57 PM »
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As a CDL driver, I'm subject to get pulled at random once a quarter.  At one point a few years ago, I was pulled 13 out of 14 quarters, including 12 consecutive quarters.  And twice in 1 week ( quarter ended mid week ).  When I showed up the second time, I had the same nurse and she pointed out I shouldn't be there again.  I reminded her about the quarterly thing, and she say, oh yeah.  Here's your cup, you know the deal.  At the time, our company pool of drivers was around 10, and they pulled 5 each quarter, so basically a 50/50 shot.  To get pulled for 12 straight ?  I'm sure there is an equation to figure that out, but I quit doing that kind of math after I graduated college.  See Prof Gomez !!  I told you I wouldn't need to know that stuff after graduating. 

Ah *****, he was right.  I do need to know it if I really want to know the answer

Dave V

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #35 on: June 09, 2021, 07:35:09 PM »
+2
I'm pretty liberal when it comes to drug policies, but in a safety critical position that relies heavily on judgement based decisions and situational awareness you should be sober at work...


Exactly.  If you're not supposed to go to work drunk (spoiler alert...no matter what you do for a living, this is true) you should also not go to work high.  Alcohol is legal, but marijuana in many states (and at the federal level) is not.

"You should be sober at work" is a standard that should be applied to all controlled substances, but should not necessarily govern people's behaviors when they're not at work.  Obvious exceptions exist such as military and first responders subject to no-notice recall.  I think there are very few teetotalers among us here on the Railwire, and yet we all know not to go to work drunk.  Why does society assume people who use recreational marijuana are going to work stoned?  If low-functioning alcoholics are not necessarily representative of all of us who enjoy adult beverages from time to time, why should cartoonish stereotypes of stoners be assumed to represent every person who uses marijuana recreationally?
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CRL

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #36 on: June 09, 2021, 08:13:37 PM »
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Maybe because a lot of people who “drink” do not do so to get drunk. They enjoy a good beer or good wine with a good meal.

Can’t say the same for “recreational” or other users of loco weed, at least not the ones I’ve known over the years. Hell, my uncle was “invited to leave” Texas A&M University back in the 1930’s because he discovered weed. He said it was the stupidest week of his life, and he almost made it to 90 before he died.


Dave V

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #37 on: June 09, 2021, 08:30:22 PM »
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Maybe because a lot of people who “drink” do not do so to get drunk. They enjoy a good beer or good wine with a good meal.

Can’t say the same for “recreational” or other users of loco weed, at least not the ones I’ve known over the years. Hell, my uncle was “invited to leave” Texas A&M University back in the 1930’s because he discovered weed. He said it was the stupidest week of his life, and he almost made it to 90 before he died.

I have a number of neighbors and acquaintances who use cannabis on occasion that include high-powered executives and athletes.  So, there's that.

I'm not an enthusiast, but I have no problem with those who are, provided they don't engage in behaviors that would endanger others, just as I expect when it comes to alcohol use.

On this particular point I lean rather libertarian.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2021, 08:51:26 PM by Dave V »
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wazzou

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2021, 09:43:36 PM »
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Either weed or alcohol are fine in moderation, recreationally.  Not on the job.
Now...Meth, Heroin or *Opioids (*outside of those prescribed) IMO, not so much.
The thing is, if you hit a pen or spark a bowl on your day off, it remains in your system.  It doesn’t mean your high on Monday.
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Dave V

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2021, 11:49:06 PM »
+2
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wazzou

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #40 on: June 10, 2021, 12:22:44 AM »
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My favorite bagel.
Bryan

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peteski

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #41 on: June 10, 2021, 12:31:51 AM »
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ROTFLMAO
. . . 42 . . .

signalmaintainer

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #42 on: June 10, 2021, 06:11:44 AM »
+4
  Personnel best the other day, 14,700' Z train.

Right now U.P. is faced with two major problems. (1) A significant portion of their motive power has been either sold or put in storage.  As a result engines are being constantly used with little or no maintenance between trips.  This creates a domino effect as lack of maintenance causes locomotives to fail and further reduce an already inadequate pool of motive power.  My last three trips had locomotive failures on each train.  One had a complete failure of all dynamic brakes due to a fault in the control panel of the lead locomotive.  I had to use stretch braking for the whole trip, I know a lot of younger engineers who would have been unable to make the trip as they had never been trained on how to use air to control a train over an entire trip.  Another the second unit of the lead consist failed due to over heating, this resulted in having to run a DPU train 1x2 (one lead locomotive and two mid train DPUs.)  This is a dicey operation at best, so much so that there are rules that supposedly prohibit this (I was ordered to take the train) and finally on the above mentioned Z train, we had to switch out the mid train DPUs as the controlling unit on the mid pack kept giving a wheel slip alarm every time I tried to move the train.  Turns out this locomotive had come in the night before with a locked axle and the roundhouse personnel had cut out the traction motor, moved it a couple of feet in the RIP shed and declared it fit for use. (I'm sure they knew it would fail, but were over-ridden by the roundhouse manager).  This resulted in a premium inter-model U.P.S. train departing 4 1/2 hours late and having to be re-crewed. 

(2) Lack of personnel across all crafts.  Over the last couple of years personnel manning has been reduced by up to 60% in some crafts resulting in locomotives and rail cars getting what amounts to a lick an'a promise before being sent back out on another trip (as discussed above).  Additionally the railroads practice of hiring new people and then furloughing them months after being hired, then bringing them back for a month or two then furloughing them again over and over means about 75% of them leave for other jobs.  Word has gotten out about railroad hiring practices also, such that in the last hiring class in the Portland area only four people applied.  As traffic continues to increase these personnel cuts are starting and will continue to have a significant effect on the railroads ability to move goods in a safe and efficient manner.  Now I'm talking about the U.P. but I would be very surprised if these very same issues aren't effecting all railroads.  As we are talking root causes, it, in my opinion, is caused by the simple fact that railroad CEOs have little to no real business acumen.  All they know is to cut costs which means people and equipment.  But when you've cut to the bone then what?

As for eliminating drug testing please wait until I retire, there are enough stupid railroaders out there, I don't want them stoned/drunk also and operating on the same mainline as me.

Scott

BNSF is not officially PSR'd, and is having the same issues. Almost everyday in the NW Division trains fail account bad power.

And, no, I don't like submitting to random drug tests, but they do keep the knuckleheads out of my craft and workplace and have made railroading safer.
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Maletrain

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #43 on: June 10, 2021, 10:56:27 AM »
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Regardnig testing vs accident rates:

It does not make any sense to look at the rates of accidents involving drugs/alcohol in a situation where the people engaged in those activities are excluded by testing, and then "conclude" that the testing is not useful because the number of accidents involving drugs/alcohol is low.

Better to look at something like highway accidents, where "not using" is on the honor system.

But, statistics there are muddled, too.  Accidents that are "alcohol involved" are not necessarily "alcohol caused.  It is just that the statistics are taken in a sloppy manner.  A drunk driver stopped at a red light getting hit from behind by a guy texting while driving will be categorized as "alcohol involved".

Conversely, deaths of people in car accidents that are caused by alcohol impairment seem to be more in the sober people than the alcoholics involved in the accidents, so the "death statistics" don't directly answer the question, either.

You would have to look at each accident report and ask the question about what caused each accident and how many people died because of that accident.

According to Wikipedia, the alcohol beverage manufactures have done that study and found that about 13% of the traffic accidents are caused by drunk driving, compared to the value of about 40% used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is their "alcohol involved" number.

So, what are the numbers for the railroad industry?  Are they lower or higher than the numbers for highway traffic?  That would be a realistic test for the value of the testing.  If the values were zero for the railroads, then elimination of testing might be estimated to cause (13% / 87% =) 15% more accidents, if the risk factors were the same on railroads as on the highways - which is probably not completely true, but may not be far off.

Regarding the previous posts about how alcohol and drug effects wear off with time: 

Don't forget the sleepiness factor.  A lot of accidents are caused by somebody being too sleepy, not too impaired in judgement, reflexes, or coordination.  And the after effects of getting "high" are often sleepiness.

Englewood

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Re: "rail industry is trying to do too much with too little"
« Reply #44 on: June 10, 2021, 11:06:21 AM »
+2
When I'm in the red zone between cars lacing up air hoses or whatever I want that engineer on the head end to be free of alcohol and drugs. If he wants to smoke a little weed or have a little drink at lunchtime he can go work at Starbucks.