Rail Safety culture

FRA report criticizes Metro-North’s safety culture

Reprints

Washington – The Metro-North Commuter Railroad’s emphasis on on-time service over safety contributed to four serious rail incidents in 2013, according to a Federal Railroad Administration report.

FRA’s findings are based on Operation Deep Dive, a safety assessment that began after a Dec. 1 derailment near the Bronx in New York City killed four people and injured more than 70. The assessment, which was assisted by the Federal Transit Administration, involved more than 60 safety experts who evaluated Metro-North’s operating procedures and safety culture.

The Operation Deep Dive team determined that many Metro-North employees are not adequately trained, feel rushed to complete repairs and claim that Metro-North considers maintaining reliable train schedules more important than safety. Among the team’s recommendations:

  • Emphasize from the top down that safety should be workers’ main priority.
  • Increase the safety department’s involvement in daily operations and conduct more effective safety meetings.
  • Improve employee training and testing programs.

Metro-North must submit by May 17 its plans to address the report’s recommendations.