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On January 26, 2010, 1:40 a.m., a hi-rail vehicle—a truck or automobile that can be operated on either highways or rails—operating southbound about 0.9 miles north of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Rockville Metro Station struck and fatally injured two automatic train control (ATC) technicians who were working on the right-of-way (ROW) replacing an impedance bond between the tracks. The hi-rail vehicle was traveling down the track in the reverse gear at about 13 mph. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the accident was inadequate safeguards by WMATA to protect roadway workers from approaching hi-rail vehicles, and to ensure hi-rail operators were aware of any wayside work being performed. Contributing to the accident was the inadequate communication of vital information concerning ongoing work by the Operations Control Center (OCC); the lack of an appropriate and effective lookout by the hi-rail vehicle operator and crew to carefully observe the track on approach; and the ineffective lookout for trains and/or hi-rail vehicles on the part of the ATC technicians.
TO THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION: Emphasize the effective implementation and oversight of 49 Code of Federal Regulations Section 659.19(r) as part of your safety oversight program audits.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Rockville, MD, United States
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Hi-Rail Maintenance Vehicle Strikes Two Wayside Workers Near the Rockville Station
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FTA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
On June 15, 2012, Mr. Ronald Keele, Director, Office of Safety and Security, advised us that you had issued a Moving Safety Forward communiqué notifying all rail transit agencies and all state safety oversight (SSO) agencies of the January 2010 Metro accident and urging the agencies to evaluate and audit their roadway worker protection programs and procedures, as recommended. At that time, we understood the following: o You were preparing a plan to develop guidelines to advise transit agencies and SSO agencies about how to effectively implement, oversee, and audit roadway worker protection programs for employees and contractors, using industry best practices, APTA standards, and appropriate elements from 49 CFR Part 214, Subpart C?Roadway Worker Protection. o You were evaluating ways to emphasize the effective implementation and oversight of employee and contractor safety programs, as specified in 49 CFR Section 659.19(r), through the SSO audit program. o You would work with SSO agencies to support a coordinated review of the roadway worker protection programs and the procedures of all rail transit operations in their respective states to ensure that the agencies adequately and effectively address appropriate training, communication, maintenance-vehicle movement authorities, flagging procedures, rules compliance, and the sharing of a work area by multiple work crews. Pending our receipt of a timely update from you regarding these efforts, Safety Recommendations R-12-34 and -35 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Ronald Keele, Director, Office Safety and Security, Federal Transit Administration: FTA Follow-up Actions FTA is preparing a plan to develop guidelines to advise transit agencies and state oversight agencies on how to effectively implement, oversee, and audit the roadway worker protection programs for employees and contractors, using industry best practices, APTA standards, and appropriate elements from 49 CFR Part 214, Subpart C—Roadway Worker Protection. FTA is evaluating ways to emphasize the effective implementation and oversight of employee and contractor safety programs, as specified in 49 CFR Section 659.19(r) through its SSO Audit Program. Finally, FTA will work with the SSO agencies to support a coordinated review of the roadway worker protection programs and the procedures of all rail transit operations in their states to ensure that they adequately and effectively address appropriate training, communication, maintenance-vehicle movement authorities, flagging procedures, rules compliance, and the sharing of a work area by multiple work crews.
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