Fatigue remains a key transportation safety issue in Canada

by 30, Oct, 2020Innovation

For 10 years, the TSB Watchlist has put the spotlight on key safety issues and actions needed to make Canada’s transportation system even safer. The Watchlist 2020 identifies eight key safety issues that require government and industry attention.

While recognizing the hardship brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the TSB’s focus on safety remains the same,

…TSB stated.

Fatigue was one of the most pervasive issues that remains on the Watchlist, posing a risk to the safety of air, marine, and freight train operations because of its potential to degrade several aspects of human performance.

In addition, the multi-modal issues of safety management and regulatory oversight or surveillance remain on this year’s Watchlist, now as separate issues as each are distinct and require unique solutions.

Also remaining on Watchlist 2020 is commercial fishing safety. According to TSB, progress on safety has been slow, sporadic, and localized. After ten years of being on the Watchlist, TSB reports continue to identify the same unsafe conditions:

  • poor knowledge of a vessel’s stability limits,
  • failure to carry essential lifesaving equipment and
  • failure to wear a personal flotation device.

Removed from this year’s Watchlist is slow progress responding to TSB recommendations, which was first highlighted in 2016. At that time, there were 52 outstanding TSB recommendations that were at least 10 years old, with more than half over 20 years old. In 2020, the Board determined that the progress to date is sufficient for its removal.

The Watchlist is always evolving. If sufficient progress is made to reduce the risks, old issues are removed, just as new issues are added when they arise. Watchlist 2020 is a good example of this as several issues remain from previous years, but we have also added a new issue, removed one and split another into two,

…explains TSB Chair Kathy Fox.

Other issues remaining in the list are runway overruns, runway incursions and following railway signals, while new to Watchlist 2020 is the risk of unplanned or uncontrolled movement of railway equipment.

Will fixing these transportation safety issues be easy? Of course not. Government and industry stakeholders still need to work together—more than they already are and in new and different ways. We will continue to monitor these issues, reporting progress as it happens and bring attention where needed. Canadians from coast to coast to coast can count on it,

…concludes Fox.

Fatigue was also an issue at the 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements by NTSB.

October 2020