WALNUT CREEK (CBS SF) — The two BART workers who were struck and killed by a train while inspecting the tracks during the second day of a BART strike over the weekend were working under a practice in which they were considered responsible for their own safety, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Tuesday.
Track engineers Laurence Daniels, 66, and Christopher Sheppard, 58, were checking on a report of a dip in a stretch of trackway between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill BART stations a short time before 2 p.m. Saturday when they were fatally hit by a BART train.
An operator in training was driving the train, which was running without passengers, according to the NTSB.
The pair was also working under a standard BART procedure known as “simple approval,” which requires workers to notify BART’s operations control center when they plan to work on or near the tracks.
Under that protocol, NTSB lead investigator Jim Southworth said Tuesday, “the responsibility of their safety is on themselves” and workers are told to expect a train coming in either direction at any time.
Following simple approval, either Sheppard or Daniels was expected to designate themselves as a lookout for the other worker to keep an eye on the tracks, Southworth said.