Switching Operations Fatalities Analysis (SOFA)
The Switching Operations Fatality Analysis (SOFA) Working Group is an established, voluntary, non-regulatory, workplace-safety partnership. It was formed to look for commonalities among the fatalities that occur during switching operations and to develop findings and recommendations that will aid in preventing railroad employee deaths. The group includes representatives from the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, the United Transportation Union, the Association of American Railroads, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association, and the Federal Railroad Administration.
The SOFA program designates 5 "LIFESAVER" recommendations:
- Secure equipment before action is taken;
- Protect employees against moving equipment;
- Discuss safety at the beginning of a job or when a project changes;
- Communicate before action is taken; and
- Mentor less experienced employees to perform service safety.