Metro Train Almost Struck Safety Inspector

By Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 PM EDT
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Metro Train Almost Struck Safety Inspector

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Be afraid.

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Safety inspectors learned just how dangerous the Metro system can be when they tried to find out how safe track workers are in the D.C. area.

A member of team from the Tri-State Oversight Committee had to rush out of the path of a train that should have been slowing down for them last month, according to a report released Wednesday. The incident happened after Metro relented and lifted a ban on independent safety monitors walking the tracks.

No one was injured, but Metro immediately classified it as a serious incident

The inspectors were studying whether trains were slowing and stopping according to procedure when approaching people on the tracks, the Washington Post reported.

The inspectors said train operators failed to respond to hand signals from track personnel and that Metro's control center failed to give operators adequate warning about where workers were stationed on the tracks. In addition, the report said inspectors detected antagonism between track workers and train operators.

The near-miss was the most serious of numerous violations mentioned in the report, according to the Post.

"Working along the tracks is a risky job, and we aim to minimize the risks by having policies and procedures in place to ensure that we can provide the safest work environment as possible," read a statement by Metro Chief Safety Officer Michael Taborn. "The policy is that the train operators are to slow the trains as they approach a work zone. That policy was violated and an investigation was launched immediately. The investigation into the incident is ongoing."

Metro has been working to implement a Safety Action Plan it outlined in a letter to Tri-State Oversight last week.

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