D.C. Subway Takes Safety Steps Following Deaths of Workers

December 14, 2006

The Washington, D.C. area’s mass transit system on Tuesday announced new safety policies for its subway track workers following the deaths of two employees who were struck by a train late last month.

Metro track inspectors will inspect the rails only between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when fewer trains are running. In addition, inspectors will be required to inform the system’s operations control center of their locations, and trains will be instructed to slow down to less than 20 miles per hour when they are within 600 feet of track workers.

Trains will not be allowed to pass until they receive a signal from the track inspectors to do so, Metro said.

Separate procedures have been established for locations where trains share a single track or where close clearances or curves could obstruct a train operator’s vision, the agency said.

“These safety enhancements were designed with one goal in mind: to protect the safety of our employees,” Jack Requa, Metro’s acting general manager, said in a statement. “We have an obligation to do what we can to protect our employees, and we believe these additional safety measures will provide the added layers of protection so that at the end of the work day, everyone goes home to their families.”

Requa said the changes were prompted by Metro’s internal investigation of the Nov. 30 accident in which track workers Matthew Brooks, 36, of Waldorf, Md., and Leslie A. Cherry, 52, of Clinton, Md., were killed. It was Metro’s third fatal accidentinvolving a worker in just over a year.

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating.

“We have worked very closely with the NTSB since Nov. 30 to develop stronger safeguards, and if we come up with additional ways to enhance safety, we will do so,” Requa said.


On the Net:

Metro: http://www.wmata.com/

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