MTA Press Releases

Press Release
August 2, 2007
MTA NYC Transit Works to Create a Safer Work Environment Along the Tracks

During the intervening months since the tragic deaths of track workers Daniel Boggs and Marvin Franklin, MTA New York City Transit has worked closely with TWU Local 100 to create a series of measures meant to ensure the safety of all of our employees as they perform their duties along the subway right-of-way. Also, the Boards of Inquiry into the two accidents have been completed.

Track workers and their families will also find an added measure of security in the recent passage of legislation establishing a three-member task force charged with developing track safety procedures for the thousands of NYC Transit employees who work along the system's more than 800 miles of track.

The Track Safety Task Force will include a member each from the NYS Department of Labor, NYC Transit and TWU Local 100. They will monitor conditions and make recommendations on new and effective ways to ensure the safety of NYC Transit employees.

"The deaths of Mr. Boggs and Mr. Franklin have made all of us realize that more can and should be done to safeguard the lives of these men and women who work to maintain our subway tracks, roadbed and infrastructure," said NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. "This is the type of collaboration that will benefit all transit workers."

"These are concrete steps in the right direction," said Roger Toussaint, TWU Local 100 President. "For us at TWU, there is no doubt that structural safety deficiencies ---including a lack of communication, as well as faulty procedures and rules -- contributed to the deaths of Danny Boggs and Marvin Franklin. We are committed to working with the leadership of NYC Transit to ensure meaningful change and does justice to our members who have made the ultimate sacrifice."

In addition to the task force set up by the Track Safety Bill, a joint NYC Transit/TWU Local 100 Task Force has also been created to examine the issue of track safety from the roadbed up, taking a hard look at the culture of these jobs and how they are performed. Worker input is being solicited and everything that impacts track safety is being examined. The Board of Inquiry reports will be reviewed by the task force, who will provide its comments and recommendations to NYC Transit President Howard H. Roberts and TWU Local 100 President Roger Toussaint.

The Board of Inquiry reports released today are part of a process that will include gathering data from focus groups, extensive worker surveys, job site safety audits and the use of professional consults who are experts in the field of safety. Through the joint NYC Transit/TWU Local 100 Task Force, we are working together to review the investigative methodology used at NYC Transit, including a review of the work of the various Boards over the past several years.

Already, the partnership between NYC Transit and TWU Local 100 has led to the creation of several important new safety initiatives.

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.

When the work requires suspension of train service, 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 in the area will be determined at the time of this inspection. Prior the work, an inspection certificate must be signed by a supervisor and TWU safety officer. The signed certificate must be displayed at the work site.