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FTA proposal aimed at strengthening transit worker safety


Photo: J2R/iStockphoto

Washington — Alarmed by a recent spike in assaults against transit workers, the Federal Transit Authority is proposing a rule designed to protect workers and passengers.

Citing National Transit Database records, the agency reports a 121% increase in assaults on transit workers. Under the proposal, published in the April 26 Federal Register, FTA would update the Public Transportation Agency Safety Plans rule in an effort to bolster worker safety. Proposed changes include:

  • Creating safety committees with equal representation from frontline transit workers and management to address worker and rider concerns.
  • Establishing risk reduction programs to decrease incidents, injuries and assaults on transit workers, considering corrective strategies such as installing driver shields or barriers.
  • Making de-escalation training for frontline workers part of organizations’ comprehensive safety training programs.
  • Including in safety programs strategies to minimize exposure to infectious diseases, as required under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Guidance would be consistent with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or a state health authority.

FTA notes that some of the requirements would apply only to areas with populations of at least 200,000 people, which coincide with the largest increases in reported transit worker assaults.

“No one should go to work or ride transit worried that they won’t come home safely, and FTA is committed to making that ideal a reality,” FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez said in a press release. “This proposed rule prioritizes worker safety and gives transit workers a greater voice in protecting themselves during the workday. Updating this rule reflects the feedback FTA has received from the transit workforce across the country. Safer workers will mean a safer transit system and a safer ride for passengers.”

Comments on the proposed rule are due June 26.

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