Tag Archives: safety

New York & Atlantic’s safety procedures under review following Maspeth crash


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

In the wake of a fiery collision between a train and a tractor-trailer at a railroad crossing in Maspeth on July 8, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced Tuesday that it will launch a safety review of New York & Atlantic Railway’s (NYA) safety culture and management practices.

The train was traveling at a minimum of 20 mph, 5 mph above the area railroad speed limit of 15 mph, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

This safety analysis will review NYA’s operational practices, its compliance with federal regulations and the overall safety culture of the train operation company. The FRA stated that NYA has committed to fully cooperate with the safety review.

“Rail safety is a responsibility DOT [Department of Transportation] shares with the operators,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Railroads must adhere to the strict standards of safety set by FRA, and FRA must ensure and enforce compliance in order to protect lives. This safety review aims to do just that.”

The FRA’s rail safety team will inspect NYA’s operating departments; engineer and conductor certifications; locomotive engineer oversight; grade crossing diagnostics; the company’s operation control center procedures and rail traffic controller training methods; human factors that may have caused the crash; and its compliance with federal practices regulations.

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Photo by Robert Stridiron

“[Tuesday’s] announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to launch a safety review of the New York & Atlantic Railway is welcoming news,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan in a statement. “After last week’s train-truck collision in Queens, this study is much needed for our community. I am confident that this review by the FRA will help to improve safety standards. I will continue to monitor this important situation and working with my partners in government – city, state and federal — to make sure that Queens rails and roads are safe.”

After the FRA completes its review of NYA’s safety culture and practices, it will issue a report outlining their findings and provide recommendations to the railroad company. Additionally, the FRA will evaluate NY&A’s follow-up to the recommendations and assess if subsequent actions are necessary to strengthen safety at NYA Railway.

“In this safety sweep of NYA, FRA will provide recommendations on specific areas where the railroad must improve to meet the high safety standards FRA and the country expect,” said Sarah Feinberg, acting FRA administrator.

The Courier has reached out to Paul Victor, president of NYA, and is awaiting a response.

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Halloween safety tips


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

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While having fun is a prerequisite for any Halloween, safety should never take a backseat.

With the devastation the city suffered during Hurricane Sandy, many will be forced to forego trick-or-treating, but for those that do there are several safety tips that should be followed.

Con Ed offered some tips post-Sandy safety tips:

  • Avoid any downed electrical wires or equipment. Treat any wire that’s in the street or on lawns as if it’s carrying electricity, which can carry painful shocks. They also should avoid any puddles or standing water, which can conduct electricity. More than 5,000 wires fell during the storm
  • Be careful crossing streets, especially at corners with no red lights. Hold on to younger brothers, sisters and friends when crossing the street. Be sure to look both ways.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking even if the street is lighted, but definitely if Hurricane Sandy snuffed out street lights.
  • Children are urged to be careful near Con Edison work sites in their neighborhoods.

In the most recent data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an average of 20 pedestrians were killed each Halloween from 2005-2009, a 61 percent increase from the number of pedestrian deaths on any given day.

With Halloween falling on a school day, many children will be out trick-or-treating for candy after sunset. Drivers should be aware of their surroundings and be patient with the droves of trick-or-treaters crossing city streets. Motorist vigilance is extra important because many children will not cross at crosswalks and “dart out” in front of cars.

New York-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital provided tips on maximizing Halloween fun while minimizing potential danger:

• Always go trick-or-treating with your children. Do not let your children enter a stranger’s home or apartment.

• Do not let your children eat any candy before they get home and you examine it.

• Make sure your children throw away any unwrapped foods or candies.

• If your children are old enough to trick-or-treat by themselves, have them go in groups.

• If your children are trick-or-treating at night, make sure their costumes are bright in color, or have them wear reflectors.

• If your children are walking on dark streets, have them take a flashlight. If they are walking in apartment buildings, accompany them inside.

For the tech savvy, AT&T has compiled a list of tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween:

• Make sure cell phones are fully charged before leaving the house.

• Pre-program contact information of parents and emergency numbers into your child’s phone and teach them how to access the numbers.

• Establish boundaries. Childrens’ trick-or-treating routes should be in familiar areas in the community. Many services, including AT&T’s FamilyMap Viewer, allow parents to locate a child’s exact whereabouts from their phone or computer.

• Set up periodic alarms with Halloween-themed tones as a reminder for trick-or-treaters to text or call home to check in between candy collecting stops.

And the most important tip to remember…have fun.

Boat safety tips


| mchan@queenscourier.com

In the wake of the July 4 tragedy in Oyster Bay in which three Suffolk County children were trapped and killed in a capsized, overloaded watercraft, local marina officials stressed the importance of boat safety.

Overloading boats could be a deadly decision, said Martin Munch, president of the Bayside Marina.

“You want to have ample room to move around in case of an emergency,” he said, adding that occupancy rules vary for each boat, depending on the type and style of the craft.

According to New York state boating requirements, a capacity plate — usually located in plain sight near the operator’s station — on board vessels less than 21 feet long indicates how much weight the boat can safely carry, and should never be exceeded.

Boaters under 12 years old on a vessel less than 65 feet are also required to wear life vests, as well as anyone on a vessel less than 21 feet between November 1 and May 1, according to the United States Coast Guard. Violations can lead to a fine of up to $100.

Munch recalled a July 2002 accident in Little Neck Bay that claimed two lives — John Kondogianis, 36, of Elmont, L.I., and George Lawrence, 17, of Little Neck — when they were both thrown overboard and killed by a colliding boat in the waters off the Bayside Marina. Marina staff members often make safety recommendations to private boaters, Munch said, but ultimately enforcement falls under the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the United States Coast Guard on all federally controlled waters.

Stay safe in backyard pools


| mchan@queenscourier.com

• Learn how to swim. The city’s Department of Parks & Recreation offers free lessons to both children and adults. The courses take place in three summer sessions throughout July and August and are available on a first-come, first-served basis at four Queens pools — Astoria, Fort Totten, Fisher and Liberty. Registration for sessions two and three are still open.

• Use of the pool should always be supervised by an adult who knows pool rules and emergency procedures and who can swim.

• The area should have a secure fence surrounding the pool with childproof locks to guard against unsupervised swimming. A fence is necessary even if the pool is located directly outside of patio doors. The gates should be locked when no adult is present.

• Establish pool rules and post them near the pool. Don’t allow running or horseplay around the pool. Be careful with inflatable toys that may deflate unexpectedly. Use only unbreakable containers in the pool area.

• Take benches and chairs away from the pool area when finished swimming and remove toys from the pool to discourage children from climbing over the fence and back in to retrieve them.

• Be prepared for emergencies. Have a long pole, a ring buoy with a throwing line and a first aid kit nearby. Keep emergency phone numbers handy. Get training in lifesaving, first aid and CPR.

— Melissa Chan and YMCA of Greater New York