The National Transportation Safety Board announced on Tuesday that it will be looking into the safety practices of train company Norfolk Southern.
According to The New York Times, “the company had suffered five significant accidents since December 2021,” including a disastrous train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, in February. Some of the cars that derailed were carrying toxic chemicals that officials had to slowly release and burn into the air to prevent explosion.
Since that incident, East Palestine residents have complained of headaches, nausea, rashes and other symptoms that they suspect are linked to lingering hazardous materials in the air or water in the area. Data has revealed there is a possibility some hazardous materials could remain in the area, the Deseret News reported.
Did any of the incidents with Norfolk Southern cause deaths?
Out of the five accidents the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating, three of them involve the deaths of Norfolk Southern employees. Mere hours before the board’s announcement, a worker was killed at a Cleveland steel plant in an accident, per the Times.
The employee was a conductor, 46-year-old Louis Shuster, and he was hit by a dump truck. It is the third incident within the company to occur in Ohio in the last month, CNN reported.
“The NTSB is concerned that several organizational factors may be involved in the accidents, including safety culture,” the board said in a statement, per CNN. “The NTSB will conduct an in-depth investigation into the safety practices and culture of the company. At the same time, the company should not wait to improve safety and the NTSB urges it to do so immediately.”
How is Norfolk Southern responding to the investigation?
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw responded to the investigation, saying the company plans to cooperate fully.
“Moving forward, we are going to rebuild our safety culture from the ground up. We are going to invest more in safety,” he said in a statement, per CNBC. “This is not who we are, it is not acceptable, and it will not continue.”
Shaw will testify before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Thursday “to address potential threats to public health and the environment” stemming from the East Palestine accident, CNBC reported.