Federal officials warn MBTA to address worker safety issues

Federal officials warn MBTA to address worker safety issues

Runaway trains in track yards, near misses between trains and workers, and an employee hurt while working on overhead power lines on the Blue Line. Federal officials say the MBTA has to address worker safety issues, and do it fast — within the next two months.

And commuters are worried about what this means for them.

“We don’t need Band-Aids, we need the thing done safely for the people doing the work and the people who have to rely on these things every day,” said Brett Nichols, who rides the MBTA.

In a letter to MBTA General Manager Phillip Eng a federal official writes, “Given the immediate risk to worker safety on the ROW (right of way), FTA (the federal transit administration) requires direct and focused actions.”

They say a plan submitted by the MBTA earlier this month needs to be redone immediately because it includes fixes not scheduled to be complete until late this year, or next year. Federal officials say worker safety needs to be addressed within the next 60 days and longer-term actions can come later. If they can’t come up with a plan and comply with the federal requirements officials say they won’t allow workers onto the tracks.

In a separate letter, federal authorities approve of the Ts restructuring plan to focus on train safety issues but write, “FTA remains concerned about the staffing levels within the Safety Department.”

They say MBTA officials need to fast-track their efforts to staff it, and provide weekly updates to federal officials.

Riders are waiting to see what it means for them.

“Very slow, I’m from Europe and I don’t understand how the system works here because it’s really, maybe with a bike we’d go quicker than her so they really need to work on this,” said Noel Ones.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *