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Worker died after fall from train at Denver railyard

The accident happened Feb. 9 at the Globeville Railyard in Denver.

DENVER — A BNSF Railway (BNSF) worker who died early last month at the company's Globeville Yard in Denver fell from the front of a locomotive while switching railroad freight cars, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The accident happened shortly before 11 a.m. on Feb. 9.

According to the NTSB report, the victim was working as a remote control operator (RCO) helper that day with an RCO foreman. 

Before the accident, the foreman said he was using his operator control unit (OCU) to couple the locomotives and freight cars on Track 116. The RCO foreman then transferred control of his OCU to the victim, the report says.

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The victim brought the locomotives and freight cars forward with his OCU so he could board the front locomotive stairs, the NTSB report says.

He then used the OCU to move the locomotives and freight cars out of Track 116 for the next switching move. After the victim climbed the stairs of the locomotive to the front center platform, the equipment began to move, and he fell from the front of the locomotive, according to the NTSB report.

About four seconds later, a safety feature on the victim's OCU initiated an emergency application of the train’s air brakes, the report says.

The NTSB investigation is ongoing and future efforts will focus on the operating rules of the railroad, the mechanical condition of the train, and internal and external oversight of BNSF’s operational and testing program.

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