Watchlist 2016 brochure 

ISSN 2368-6839

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s (TSB) Watchlist identifies the key safety issues that need to be addressed to make Canada’s transportation system even safer.

The ten issues on this list are supported by a combination of investigation reports, Board safety concerns and recommendations. Some of them have been on the Watchlist since 2010, others are new to this year’s edition. All of them, however, require a concerted effort from the regulator and industry stakeholders.

For each issue, individual fact sheets set out a compelling argument for change, explaining not just the scope of the issue, but why it matters and what is needed to solve the problem. We point out those instances where progress has been made, but we’re also candid about indicating when more needs to be done. That’s because we want all Canadians—from coast to coast to coast—to know we’re doing everything we can to make a transportation network that is already one of the world’s safest even safer.

 Multimodal

Safety management and oversight

Some transportation companies are not managing their safety risks effectively, and many are not required to have formal safety management processes in place. Transport Canada oversight and intervention have not always been effective at changing companies’ unsafe operating practices.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • Transport Canada implements regulations requiring all commercial operators in the air and marine industries to have formal safety management processes and effectively oversees these processes;
  • transportation companies that do have SMS demonstrate that it is working—that hazards are being identified and effective risk mitigation measures are being implemented; and
  • Transport Canada not only intervenes when companies are unable to manage safety effectively, but does so in a way that succeeds in changing unsafe operating practices.

Slow progress on addressing TSB recommendations

Transport Canada action to address TSB recommendations is too slow.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • Transport Canada makes a clear commitment to take action on the outstanding TSB recommendations with which it agrees;
  • the Government of Canada improves and accelerates the process for taking action on safety-related recommendations; and
  • there is a marked reduction in the backlog of outstanding TSB recommendations, particularly those that will bring Canada back in line with international standards.

 Marine

Commercial fishing safety

Despite many safety initiatives, unsafe work practices continue.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • new regulations are implemented for commercial fishing vessels of all sizes;
  • user-friendly guidelines regarding vessel stability are developed and implemented to reduce unsafe practices;
  • there is evidence of behavioural changes among fishermen regarding the use of personal flotation devices, emergency position-indicating radio beacons, and survival suits, as well as of on-board safety drills and risk assessments being carried out; and
  • there is concerted and coordinated action by federal and provincial authorities, leaders within the fishing community, and fishermen themselves to put in place strong regional initiatives and develop a sound safety culture in the fishing community.

 Rail

Transportation of flammable liquids by rail

The transportation of flammable liquids—such as crude oil—by rail across North America has created an elevated risk that needs to be mitigated effectively.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • railway companies conduct thorough route planning and analysis, and perform risk assessments to ensure that risk-control measures are effective; and
  • more robust tank cars are used when large quantities of flammable liquids are transported by rail to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous-goods release during accidents.

Following railway signal indications

Railway signals are not consistently recognized and followed, which poses a risk of serious train collisions or derailments.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • additional physical safety defences are implemented to ensure that railway signal indications governing operating speed or operating limits are consistently recognized and followed.

On-board voice and video recorders

With no requirement for on-board voice and video recorders on locomotives, key information to advance railway safety may not always be available for accident investigations and proactive safety management.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • Voice and video recorders are installed on all lead locomotives operating on main track.

Fatigue management systems for train crews

Sleep-related fatigue of operating crew can impair the safe operation of freight trains.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • Transport Canada completes its review of railways’ fatigue management systems; and
  • Transport Canada and the railways implement further actions to effectively mitigate the risk of fatigue for operating crew members on freight trains.

 Air

Unstable approaches

Accidents involving unstable approaches continue to occur at Canadian airports.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • major airlines track stable approach policy compliance through their safety management systems and take action to reduce unstable approaches that continue to landing; and
  • there is a reduction in the number of incidents of unstable approach and accidents in which approach stability was a causal or contributory factor.

Runway overruns

Runway overruns continue to occur at Canadian airports.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • pilots receive timely information about runway surface conditions to calculate the landing distance required, no matter the season;
  • Transport Canada requires appropriate runway end safety areas at Canadian airports to reduce risks when a runway overrun occurs; and
  • major airports provide adequate safety areas at the end of runways or other engineered systems and structures to safely stop aircraft that overrun.

Risk of collisions on runways

There continues to be a risk of aircraft colliding with vehicles or other aircraft on the ground at Canadian airports.

Action required

This issue will remain on the Watchlist until

  • new technological defences are installed at Canada's major airports to reduce serious runway incursions; and
  • the overall number of runway incursions is reduced.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is an independent agency that makes transportation safer by investigating marine, pipeline, rail, and air transportation occurrences, and communicating the results to Canadians. For more information, visit tsb.gc.ca or contact us at 819-994-8053 or communications@bst-tsb.gc.ca.

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