August 17, 2014 5:26 pm

Feds stressed fatigue, workload concerns just before Lac-Megantic disaster

Wrecked oil tankers and debris from a runaway train in Lac-Megantic, Que. are pictured July 8, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho, SQ

OTTAWA – A train operator’s level of fatigue, sleep patterns and “ability to make effective, safe decisions” were among the risk factors singled out in Transport Canada guidelines for single-person train operations – advice that was finalized just months before the Lac-Megantic rail disaster.

Records obtained under the Access to Information Act show “human factors” such as fatigue, lifestyle and workload demands – and the best way to deal with them – were flagged for departmental rail safety reviewers.

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BY THE NUMBERS: Lac-Megantic rail disaster

The Transport Canada guidelines, finalized May 13, 2013, were intended to help Transport Canada staff assess risk assessments filed by railways operating trains with just a single employee.

On July 6 last year, a 72-car train parked for the night came loose and rolled into the town of Lac-Megantic, Que., creating a fireball that killed 47 people, destroyed buildings and contaminated waterways.

The now-defunct Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. and three employees of the company – including the train’s sole operator – face charges of criminal negligence causing death.

The federal Transportation Safety Board is set to release its final report Tuesday on the devastating accident.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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