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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Ineffective Safeguards Cost Worker His Life

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Robert Luden, a track foreman, was working on the track when he was struck by a passenger train traveling approximately 70 mph. This accident could have been avoided if proper safety measures were taken into account.

The foreman had requested the section of track be taken out of service for maintenance, but a student controller reopened the track without approval, causing the fatal accident.

Although it appears human error played a role, the investigation is ongoing and may take a year to complete. The railroad has already begun changes including requiring track controllers to get approval from a supervisor before unblocking a blocked track. Will it be enough?

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chair, Deborah A.P. Hersman, issued an urgent safety recommendation. “Metro-North can take immediate action to ensure the safety of work crews on their tracks. Shunting tracks is simple, feasible and readily available," she said.

The NTSB says that when tracks are undergoing repairs, shunting is a basic safety device as back-up protection for track workers. When a track is "shunted," workers attach a device to the track that signals rail dispatchers that the track is closed. The closed signal would remain in place until the workers remove the device.

Railroad workers shouldn't have to risk their lives to repair tracks. Why isn’t shunting, a simple and inexpensive step that can save lives, a required safety measure? A life should not need to be lost for strong safety action. Additionally, maybe it is time to re-evaluate training procedures for new controllers.

Mark Bello has thirty-six years experience as a trial lawyer and fourteen years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by a plaintiff involved in pending, personal injury, litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Member of Public Justice, Public Citizen, the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.