Injury prevention Rail

NTSB recommends new safety measures for transit workers

Washington – The National Transportation Safety Board has sent the Federal Transit Administration two recommendations aimed at protecting railway track workers, after an investigation of a fatal incident in October 2013 revealed safety vulnerabilities.

Two track workers were struck and killed Oct. 19 near Walnut Creek, CA, by a Bay Area Rapid Transit train after they had gained approval from a BART control center to enter the track. They had used a notification procedure known as “simple approval” to access the track with no protection from oncoming trains or moving equipment other than their own situational awareness. BART has since discontinued this practice, according to an NTSB press release.

NTSB is now recommending that FTA require all transit agencies to review their authorization procedures for allowing workers access to a track, discarding any procedure similar to BART’s discontinued “simple approval” process. NTSB’s second recommendation is for FTA to require transit agencies to install additional warning or stopping devices on trains or tracks. These could include secondary warning systems capable of notifying workers on a track of oncoming trains or moving equipment, or emergency train slowing and stopping systems known as positive train control.