November 11, 2013

Calif. adopts new track worker safety rules following BART deaths

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) established a set of new regulations to improve rail transit worker safety on California’s public transit systems. The decision makes California the first state in the nation to adopt such comprehensive transit safety rules. 

The decision adopts new rules in General Order 175 and reflects years of discussion, debate, and collaboration in this proceeding and amongst California’s rail transit industry experts and stakeholders.

Due to the fatal Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) tragedy that occurred on Oct. 19, 2013, the decision adopts more protective interim safeguards and leaves the proceeding open so that the CPUC may further examine and integrate any necessary enhancements following the current BART accident investigation. 

The decision will strengthen safety rules to protect roadway workers by adopting a series of strict requirements on rail transit agencies, including:

  • Implementing a safety training program with a series of strict requirements to ensure that workers are well-versed in the methods required to work safely and effectively.
  • Maintaining written flagging procedures to enhance safety on railway tracks.
  • Ensuring industry standard personal protective clothing for workers.
  • Ordering the rail transit agencies to research and plan/implement additional roadway worker technologies such as early warning alarm technology, back-up alarms and positive train control.  

 

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