OAKLAND (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit District has been cited by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) for “willful serious safety violations” that resulted in two workers being killed while working on the tracks near Walnut Creek in October 2013.
Cal/OSHA spokesman Peter Melton said they have fined the transit agency $210,000, issuing citations for three serious violations, after completing its investigation into the accident.
“BART has a system called simple approval for employees working on tracks. It puts the responsibility on them for their own safety,” Melton said. “And that is part of the reason why we issued those violations.”
Among the findings:
-Cal /OSHA found the two workers who were killed, Christopher D. Sheppard and Laurence E. Daniels, did not meet the qualifications to perform work near hazardous energized third-rails. Sheppard was a BART special projects manager and Daniels was a contractor and consulting engineer.
-A trainee was at the controls when the accident occurred – his trainer, a high-ranking transportation manager, was seated in the passenger car with other BART managers and another trainee. He could not view the track from his vantage point in the passenger car.
-BART’s “simple approval” procedures for employees working on the tracks were both inadequate and not followed.
The accident occurred on October 19, as trains were being operated on a non-passenger basis during the BART strike. Sheppard and Daniels were working on the tracks near the Walnut Creek station when they were struck and killed.
BART has since suspended the “simple approval” process for track maintenance.
Melton said now that the citations have been issued, BART has the right to appeal them. If they decide to appeal, it will go to the appeals board.