CA: BART Responds to Cal/OSHA Worker Safety Citations

April 17, 2014
BART’s enhanced safety program addresses Cal/OSHA’s concerns moving forward.

BART was provided notice April 17 from the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), better known as Cal/OSHA, that they have issued three citations to BART relating to worker safety and the tragic accident which occurred on Oct. 19, in which two track workers were killed. 

BART General Manager Grace Crunican issued the following statement: 

“The BART family has spent the past six months mourning the loss of Christopher D. Sheppard and Laurence E. Daniels while making permanent changes to our safety procedures.  Passenger and employee safety is our top priority at BART.  BART has fundamentally upgraded its safety procedures with the implementation of an enhanced wayside safety program and a proposed budget investment of over $5 million in additional resources to bolster BART’s safety performance.  Cal/OSHA has informed BART these changes correct the concerns which are at the heart of their citations, designating the issues as ‘abated,’ meaning that none are continuing violations or pose continuing safety hazards.

In addition, BART has embraced comprehensive rail safety regulations adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) impacting all rail transit agencies in California.  These requirements will add extra procedures and protections for trackside crews during both operating and non-operating hours.  Changes, which go into effect in May, include better communication between the operation control center, train operators and work crews on the track; safety measures and reduced train speeds when workers are close by; and a mandatory watch person including during non-operating hours when maintenance vehicles are on the tracks working.

BART’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 preliminary budget reflects our commitment to safety changes with increased resources and employees needed to implement the new safety procedures.  The preliminary budget invests $5.3 million in additional positions in the maintenance and engineering, transportation, and safety departments; additional equipment necessary to maintain track, traction power, and train control systems in proper working condition; enhanced monitoring; and a safety incentive program for frontline workers.

BART is also awaiting the final report and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from its independent investigation of the tragic accident which occurred on Oct. 19, 2013 in which two workers were killed.  BART will work with the CPUC on any changes recommended by the NTSB.

These safety enhancements may mean more delays for our riders and we ask for their patience and understanding.  Nothing is more important than safety.  A safer system for our employees will provide for a safer system for our riders and a better BART.”