MTA Press Releases

Press Release
May 17, 2007
MTA NYC Transit Puts New Track Safety Initiatives in Place

Beginning immediately, MTA New York City Transit is implementing a series of interim track safety measures. The new initiatives take a fresh look at the issues associated with working along the-right of-way, covering the areas of communication, adjacent track operation, noise impairment, equipment and work procedures.

Developed cooperatively with the Transport Workers Union, these measures are meant to ensure the safety of track employees as they perform their duties in the subway environment.

"Working with the TWU, we have developed a set of interim safety initiatives to protect the men and women providing track maintenance for the New York City subway system," said Howard H. Roberts, Jr., President of MTA NYC Transit. "These changes are being put into effect immediately and further changes can be expected to follow upon the completion of the reports of the Boards of Inquiry and the newly formed Track Safety Task Force," added Roberts.

The initiatives are as follows:


Radios are being issued to work crew supervisors performing emergency work in areas without working Emergency Alarm Boxes or Emergency Telephones. The distribution of radios will be expanded to include non-emergency work also.

The Rail Control Center and the Tower controlling the area must be contacted when employees call on flagging. The Tower will then notify trains in their area with periodic announcements between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Prior to lamps or portable train trips being placed along the right-of-way, the supervisor in charge of the work crew must contact the appropriate personnel at the Rail Control Center to confirm that the track has been cleared of all passenger train service. This will be highlighted during toolbox safety talks at the beginning of every shift.

Supervisors will inform Train Operators of General Orders (work locations) as they report for work. Train Operators will also be informed of any other significant events occurring along their route.


Flagging on adjacent tracks must be provided unless that track is separated by a wall or station platform.

Train Operators are being reminded that they must sound their horn and reduce speed to less than ten miles per hour when they observe caution lights, flags or persons along the right-of-way. The train must not resume normal speed until the entire train has passed the work area.


Due to the level of noise, the use of diesel generators at worksites is discouraged. If a generator must be used, the unit should be placed at street level when possible. If a generator must be employed at the worksite, noise suppression devices should be routinely attached. When possible, lighting and power should be provided by the lighting department.


Non-working Emergency Alarm Boxes and Emergency Telephones have been identified and non-emergency work is prohibited in these areas.


For maintenance activities, a Track Supervisor must accompany the Flagger as he sets up his protective flags.

All major track construction projects will be preceded by a joint management/union safety inspection. All safety needs peculiar to the area will be determined at the time of this inspection. Prior to the any work, an inspection certificate must be signed by a supervisor and TWU safety officer. The signed certificate must be displayed at the work site.