A federal agency announced a special investigation of Norfolk Southern Railway’s organization and safety culture following the Feb. 3 East Palestine incident and a second derailment in Springfield, Ohio on March 4.
The National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the East Palestine incident, which resulted in massive toxic chemical release, along with four other incidents that occurred between December 2021 and March 2023.
“Given the number and significance of recent Norfolk Southern accidents, the NTSB also urges the company to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices, with the input of employees and others, and implement necessary changes to improve safety,” an NTSB news release states.
Company urged to ‘immediately’ improve safety
NTSB states that it’s “concerned that several organizational factors may be involved in the accidents, including safety culture.”
The agency said it will conduct an in-depth investigation into the safety practices and culture of the company while encouraging Norfolk Southern to improve safety immediately.
The incidents under investigation include:
- the Dec. 8, 2021, death of a National Salvage and Service Corporation employee who was killed in Reed, Pennsylvania when the operator of a Norfolk Southern spike machine reversed direction and struck the employee
- an incident in Bessemer, Alabama on Dec. 13, 2022, involving a train conductor killed, and another injured, when a locomotive struck a steel angle iron protruding from a gondola car on a different train stopped on an adjacent track
- the Feb. 3, 2023, East Palestine, Ohio derailment that resulted in a significant fire and hazardous materials release
- a March 4, 2023, derailment near Springfield, Ohio, and
- the March 7, 2023, death of an employee during a rail car movement in Cleveland, Ohio.
As part of the special investigation, the NTSB said it will also review an Oct. 8, 2022, Norfolk Southern derailment in Sandusky, Ohio.