BRAINTREE, MASS. (WHDH) - Over two months after the Federal Transit Administration first administered directives to improve MBTA safety practices, the government agency ordered a “safety standdown” to prevent MBTA employees who have not completed a safety briefing from operating MBTA transit vehicles.
According to a letter from the FTA, the safety standdown must go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 30. In order to move MBTA transit vehicles in yards or shops, employees will first have to complete a safety briefing.
The FTA’s mandate comes after several incidents this spring and summer, including a June 25 occasion when a Red Line train underwent “uncontrolled” movement from Caddigan Yard through Braintree Station.
While no injuries were sustained in any of the three incidents, the FTA stated that the events were “exceptionally dangerous, can result in collision or derailment, and pose a substantial risk of injury or death to employees in the path of the train.”
Some commuters said that the safety shutdown should have come sooner.
“I think they should have done that sooner because an entire community depends on that,” said Red Line commuter Lara Pierre.
According to MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo, hundreds of MBTA employees will undergo the 15-minute briefings. Pesaturo said the briefings will take place at the beginning of shifts and during breaks and shouldn’t impact service.
“I hope they’re right because lately, the Red Line, Orange Line, and Green Line; those are running on Saturday schedules. My bus is still running on a regular schedule. So there are times I miss the bus by a minute and a half and have to sit here for forty minutes waiting for another one,” said Red Line commuter Chris Gross.
The FTA also mandated that the MBTA must provide updates to the progress of the safety briefing processes every 24 hours beginning August 1, prepare checklists regarding existing procedures for uncoupled trains, and develop a form to document “circle check” inspections for all rail transit vehicles.
“Fully supporting the FTA’s ongoing scrutiny of safety-related processes and practices, the MBTA is committed to providing the training and tools necessary for employees to create and maintain a culture in which safety is prioritized,” the MBTA said in a statement.
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