Monday, January 29, 2018

NYA knocks out sleep apnea with new program

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New York & Atlantic Railway began a program Jan. 23 to screen employees for sleep apnea and provide treatment for those in need. New York & Atlantic Railway began a program Jan. 23 to screen employees for sleep apnea and provide treatment for those in need. New York & Atlantic Railway

New York & Atlantic Railway (NYA), a subsidiary of Anacostia Rail Holdings, began a program Jan. 23 to screen employees for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

The railway said nearly 40 NYA engineers and conductors in New York City and Long Island will be screened for the serious sleep disorder. If needed, NYA said individuals screened will receive treatment from the railway's medical team.

"The detection and remediation of OSA will positively impact employee health and improve employee alertness for safety sensitive jobs," NYA President James Bonner said.

NYA is the first U.S. shortline railroad to bring about an OSA screening and treatment program, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association said.

OSA is a sleep disorder that causes interrupted sleep, frequently causing sleepiness and fatigue. The disorder is associated with potentially serious health issues.

Those who experience sleep apnea are repeatedly awakened and lose rest as their airway closes and breathing stops, which can cause dangerous drowsiness during the day.

Officials say treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a pressurized breathing mask, nasal strips or oral appliances while sleeping to keep the user's airway open.

In August 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board expressed disappointment when the Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration decided not to pursue a regulation that would require testing for the sleep disorder that has been associated with some severe rail crashes.

The railway's medical services and safety teams are collaborating with Rocky Mountain Sleep Disorders Center to carry out the OSA program.

Bonner also noted that he believes the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen – Long Island General Committee of Adjustment, the union representing NYA's engineers and conductors, has been supportive as the railway implements the new program.