U.S. NewsDERAILED: Disaster in East Palestine


NTSB launches special investigation into Norfolk Southern safety

Citing six “significant accidents” involving Norfolk Southern since December 2021, the NTSB said it will probe the company's safety issues.
Feb. 24, 2023, site of a Norfolk Southern freight train derailment, Feb. 3 in East Palestine, Ohio.
Posted at 6:20 AM, Mar 08, 2023

Citing six “significant accidents” involving Norfolk Southern since December 2021, the National Transportation Safety Board announced Tuesday that it is opening a special investigation into the railway company’s “organization and safety culture.”

“Given the number and significance of recent Norfolk Southern accidents, the NTSB also urges the company to take immediate action today to review and assess its safety practices, with the input of employees and others, and implement necessary changes to improve safety,” the NTSB said in a news release.

The bureau said it has already launched investigation teams for five recent accidents involving Norfolk Southern, including the fatal collision with a truck in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday.

According to the NTSB, "On Dec. 8, 2021, an employee for National Salvage and Service Corporation assigned to work with a Norfolk Southern work team replacing track was killed when the operator of a spike machine reversed direction and struck the employee in Reed, Pennsylvania."

A sign near a clean up truck says

Ohio still plagued with toxic chemicals 1 month after derailment

Residents are demanding transparency as clean up continues, one month after a Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.


In another incident, the bureau said that, "On Dec. 13, 2022, a Norfolk Southern trainee conductor was killed, and another conductor was injured, when the lead locomotive of a Norfolk Southern freight train struck a steel angle iron protruding from a gondola car on another Norfolk Southern freight train that was stopped on an adjacent track in Bessemer, Alabama."

Then, according to the bureau, "On Feb. 3, a Norfolk Southern freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. The derailment resulted in a significant fire and hazardous materials release."

The agency said that on March 4, a 2.55-mile-long Norfolk Southern freight train derailed near Springfield, Ohio; and "On March 7, a Norfolk Southern employee was killed during a movement in Cleveland, Ohio."

According to the NTSB, part of the special investigation is also reviewing the Oct. 28, 2022, derailment in Sandusky of a Norfolk Southern train carrying paraffin wax that left a stretch of a popular roadway closed for months, until weeks after the East Palestine derailment.

The NTSB said it is concerned that organizational factors may be involved in the accidents, including safety culture. The agency stated it will conduct an in-depth investigation into the safety practices and culture of the company and is already urging Norfolk Southern to improve safety immediately.

One day before the NTSB's announcement, Norfolk Southern released a six-point safety plan based on the preliminary findings of the NTSB investigation into the derailment.

A version of this story was originally published by Scripps News Cleveland in Cleveland, Ohio.