November 18, 2011

SPRINGFIELD (Nov. 18)—Railroad crews based in Illinois are about to get a New Year’s present.

Thanks to a UTU initiative, all contract-carrier vans that carry railroad crews in the state will be required to have a readily available standard railroad-type first-aid kit starting January 1.

An industry notice issued October 21 by the Illinois Commerce Commission outlines recommendations that each kit contain the following items:

• 1 32-sq.-in. absorbent-gauze compress
• 16 1”x 3” adhesive plastic bandages
• 1 3/8” x 2.5-in. roll of adhesive tape
• 1 .14 fl. oz. antibiotic treatment
• 10 .14. fl. oz. antiseptic applications
• 6 1/32-oz. applications of burn treatment
• 1 First-Aid Guide
• 2 pair of medical examination gloves
• 4 3” x 3” sterile pads
• 1 40” x 40” x 56” triangular bandage

The order also recommends that the kit include:

• 1 4” x 5” instant cold compress
• 2 sterile eye pads; 1 oz. eye wash

Equipping of the vans with the same type of first-aid kits as those similar to those used aboard trains came following a UTU initiative that led to the passage of House Bill 1573 in the Illinois General Assembly earlier this year.

“We are greatly relieved to know that starting on the first of the year all of our members will have this simple protection both on the highway and the railroad alike,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Robert W. Guy. “This was just a matter of filling in a void so that crews would have access to simple first aid while on their tour of duty, no matter where they were.

“And we are additionally gratified to know that this new level of protection was secured ‘the UTU way’—through member initiative,” Guy said. “The union leadership continues to urge members to identify not only hazards in the workplace but the tools and strategies to overcome them.”