Train carrying members of Congress kills waste collection worker

Train carrying members of Congress kills waste collection worker

SWANA releases statement citing the need for greater worker safety.

January 31, 2018
Edited by Adam Redling

An Amtrak train carrying dozens of members of Congress crashed into a garbage truck stuck on the tracks the morning of Jan. 31 while traveling in Virginia. The crash resulted in the death of one collection worker, CNN reports. 

The train was taking the members of Congress to a legislative retreat in West Virginia when the crash occurred. One collection worker was killed, and six other patients were transported to UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville, Virginia.

There were three workers in the truck at the time of the collision. The driver, who was in serious condition, was among the six taken to the hospital, CNN reports. The third worker sustained minor injuries. Two train crew members and three train passengers sustained minor injuries as well. 

According to CNN's reports, eyewitnesses told National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators that the driver was seen trying to snake the truck through the crossing gates before it was struck. The gates were reportedly working and flashing warning lights at the time of the incident. 

David Biderman, executive director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), released the following statement concerning the accident:

“The Solid Waste Association of North America sends its deepest sympathy to the victims involved in today’s tragic incident in Virginia. The investigation is ongoing as to how the crash occurred and we owe it to all involved not to assume causes. However, there are several incidents each year in which garbage trucks and trains collide, sometimes because of a malfunction, other times because of poor judgement. Too often, these incidents have tragic consequences. Because this incident involved a train carrying members of Congress, it is a national and international story. The identity of the train’s passengers must not overshadow that incidents where solid waste workers are killed on the job occur far too frequently; this is the sixth occurrence in the United States in the month of January. SWANA is committed to improving the waste industry’s safety record and preventing tragic incidents like today’s through education, communication and training. Nothing we do is more important.”