Metro (WMATA)

Metro: Expect a Normal Afternoon Commute After Electric Shock Safety Issue Resolved

Metro officials say the afternoon commute will be smooth after riders were packed into trains Thursday morning because transit workers stopped inspecting rail cars due to risk of electric shock.

Inspections were halted Thursday morning after a Metro employee was shocked Saturday, the union said. The employee could have been killed or seriously injured, ATU Local 689 union said.

The union said they later learned of three other employees who were working on a 7000-series car in 2017 and felt an electric shock.

Metro said they voluntarily halted inspections of the new 7000 series rail cars after the union raised safety concerns.

The union demanded that Metro make changes to improve the safety of workers.

"Metro knew of these electrical shocks since at least January, but covered it up and only decided to take action today because there was a victim involved who could have been killed. These actions are an abject failure to implement an effective safety culture when it should be Metro's number one priority," the union said in a statement.

Metro reviewed the procedures for inspecting the 7000 series cars with the manufacturer and announced that they are acceptable, but also stressed the need to put safety first.

"Part of creating a safety culture means taking immediate action to address concerns raised by employees. If a concern cannot be immediately resolved or requires further investigation, sometimes additional steps—such as a safety stand-down—must be taken in an abundance of caution," Metro Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin said.

Inspections will resume Thursday afternoon after extra safety briefings with Metro employees, officials said.

About 18 percent of trains were out of service Thursday morning, Metro said.

Twenty more 7000-series trains will be running for the afternoon rush hour, although you may see more six-car trains than usual, Metro said.

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