Metro employees and riders experienced a slight increase in injuries last year, according a report from the agency’s Safety and Environmental Management Department.
The report shows one of the main injuries among customers occurred through slips and falls on Metrobus and MetroAccess vehicles after a driver tries to avoid a collision with another vehicle, pedestrian or bicyclist. Metrorail riders were most often injured when the escalators were inoperable or passengers were “inattentive to their surroundings.”
Contributing factors in the 647 Metro employee injuries last year — 22 more than two years ago — were collisions on the road by bus operators and verbal assaults from patrons.
Metro’s Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin, who presented the report Thursday, Feb. 23 to the board of directors Safety Committee, said the increase in injuries is partly due to incidents involving paratransit riders on MetroAccess who get hurt after being transported and dropped off at a hospital.
Robert Lauby, a board member on the committee, said the agency should add other measures to improve safety.
“One thing I find a little bit disturbing is it that we don’t seem to be making progress in employee injuries, or customers injuries,” said Lauby, an associate administrator with the Federal Railroad Association. “I’m wondering if we’re actually measuring the right things. We have many unsafe facts that don’t result in injuries [such as] derailments, collisions in yards, red signal violations. I think [the safety report] has got to have other data in here to basically show what’s going on.”
Lavin said those items Lauby noted are reported to the Federal Transit Administration, an agency Metro officials met with recently.
The report highlights several ways to decrease those mishaps, including:
• Bus driver training to avoid rear-end collisions;
• Blinking deceleration lights on the back of Metro buses; and
• Increasing inspections at Metrorail stations.
An occupational therapist currently works with MetroAccess staff to identify proper techniques to escort riders in and out a vehicle. Metro looks to review to the driver training manual scheduled for completion in the next few months.
Another item Metro will work on to decrease employee injuries is a Fatigue Risk Management policy, which doesn’t allow employees to work no more than six-consecutive days.
The agency filed a suit Friday, Feb. 24 in U.S. District Court to implement the policy and conducted a study in 2013 to incorporation the plan, according a Metro statement.
Although Metro agreed to pay certain employees not to work a seventh day, the agency’s union filed a grievance and arbitrators had a split decision last year that the collective bargaining agreement superseded the fatigue proposal.
The report also notes key initiatives including the SafeTrack maintenance project. The project’s 12th phase, or surge, was scheduled to end Tuesday, Feb. 28 and the next one scheduled to begin Saturday, March 4.
“There has been a lot of progress,” said Carol Carmody, who chairs the board of directors Safety Committee. “There’s still some areas of concern, obviously.”
To view the full report, go to http://bit.ly/2mr2KXu.