New Jersey Transit recently approved spending $500,000 to hire an outside consultant to review workplace safety practices and procedures. The need for this review became evident in the wake of the Metro North accident last year that killed four and injured dozens more when it derailed in the Bronx.
The report issued by the Federal Railroad Administration said that the railroad had a culture that stressed adherence to schedules at the expense of safety. The New Jersey agency is going to use the report issued by the federal department as the basis for beginning its review of its operations. Although the executive director believes that New Jersey Transit is unlike Metro North, she wants to be certain. The independent review, along with an in-house committee that will conduct its own evaluation of safety, will identify issues that may compromise safety.
The union that represents conductors and trainmen at New Jersey Transit, disagrees with the director. The general chairman of the union to says that New Jersey Transit is no different from Metro North, and that safety is not emphasized. He further said that train crews get train information after passengers receive it because of outdated technology. He further stated that employee orale has declined because the crew facilities in New York City are dirty, overcrowded and infested with rodents.
It is unfortunate that people must die before either Metro North or New Jersey Transit examine workplace safety. Stay tuned for further developments as the review begins. The project is expected to take three months.
Source: CBSNewYork, “NJ Transit To Conduct Top-To-Bottom Safety Review,” Apr. 8, 2104.