Alarming Death Rate among Rail workers in Canada


It is alarming how young workers are dying in railyard across Canada. Yoan Morneau, 25, died in a Montreal railyard in January this year. Other five deaths have occurred in railyards across Canada, and workers now want the Canadian National Rail to implement new safety rules.

Morneau spent four hours a day at Pointe-St-Charles building trains. He was employed in the site for seven years, and a coworker acknowledges that it is dangerous.

Morneau hinted to her girlfriend that his work was dangerous, and wanted a new position. According to a coworker, Morneau slipped and fall on the train tracks as he climbed down from the car’s ladder.

Though the number of deaths occurring at railyards is minimal in Canada, the recent spike is alarming. In 2019, three workers died in B.C. An increase from the previous years.

Since 2018, five conductors like Morneau have died in CN-owned railyards in Canada. Most of the deaths involve trainees in railyard switching activities. Most of the workers die while riding on moving objects.

CN employees argue that the company in the last years has eliminated measures meant to guard against errors. That includes the dismantling of the safety team and hiring new young and inexperienced workers.

However, that does not mean that rail workers won’t break the rules. For instance, workers are not supposed to climb down a moving rail car’s ladder when any part they are building is in motion.

But technically, no worker waits for a train to come to a stop. That shows how training is different from what happens. CN has identified the rule as critical but always broken by workers.


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