Government Issues

NTSB issues 'urgent' recommendations to protect rail workers

Posted on December 23, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued two "urgent" safety recommendations to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) as part of its ongoing investigation into the deaths of two Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) track workers who were struck by a BART train near Walnut Creek, Calif., on October 19.

The recommendations urge the FTA to issue a directive to all rail transit agencies to require redundant protection for railway right-of-way workers, such as positive train control, secondary warning devices, or the use of a shunt — a safety device workers attach to rails that results in approaching trains receiving a stop signal.

The letter to FTA Administrator Peter M. Rogoff also urges a directive to require transit agencies to review track worker rules and procedures to eliminate any work authorization that depends solely on the track worker to provide protection from trains and moving equipment.

"Having redundant protection measures in place for track workers is not only a best practice but common sense," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman. "A positive safety culture is not a solo act — everyone needs to look out for each other."

At the time the two track workers were struck and fatally injured, BART had a roadway safety practice called "simple approval," which provided authorization from the BART control center for employees to enter the train roadway with no protection provided other than their own awareness of the situation. Workers were to look out for trains and "provide their own protection and not interfere with mainline/yard operations."

BART has since eliminated the practice.

The investigation into the BART accident is ongoing and no probable cause has been determined.

The letter to Administrator Rogoff references other track worker deaths that the NTSB has investigated, including three fatal events on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority since 2006, another involving fatalities on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and earlier this year a fatal accident involving a track worker for Metro-North Railroad.

"The NTSB believes that all rail transit systems are at risk for roadway worker fatalities and serious injuries," the letter said.


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

FTA issues proposed rule to help agencies achieve state of good repair

dentifying and prioritizing maintenance and repair needs of transit vehicles and infrastructure could lower costs, increase reliability and performance, reduce travel delays for passengers, promote resilience and yield system safety improvements.

Conn. looking to expand BRT system

The State Bond Commission will vote next week on a $7 million allocation that will allow CDOT to purchase buses and other capital equipment necessary to expand CTfastrak east of the Connecticut River into East Hartford and Manchester.

Congress unlikely to take up long-term transportation bill

The U.S. Department of Transportation reportedly told Congress that the Highway Trust Fund isn’t going bankrupt as soon as expected, according to the report. Congress, though, would still need to reauthorize the program soon, with it now likely that it will probably be a three-year bill.

Senator calls for increased public transit security

Sen. Richard Blumenthal made his first the call for more security in May during the TSA administrator’s confirmation hearing. He said the security and safety enhancement were mandated by Congress in 2007, but are still not implemented.

Phoenix voters approve sales tax increase to fund transportation

Elements of the plan include building an additional 42 miles of light rail throughout the city, providing late night bus and Dial-a-Ride service citywide and repaving over 680 miles of arterial streets.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close