Accident Prompts BART to Suspend 'Simple Approval' Practice

The NTSB did a re-enactment of the Oct. 19 incident in which a BART employee and a contract worker were struck by an out-of-service train and killed.

The National Transportation Safety Board has conducted a re-enactment as it tried to find out why two workers were hit and killed Oct. 19 by an out-of-service Bay Area Rapid Transit train being run in automatic mode, under computer control, with two operator trainees on board and in the process of being trained. NTSB on-scene Investigator James Southworth held his final on-scene press briefing Oct. 22, in which he discussed BART's "simple approval" practice, which was in use at the time.

"Simple approval" means that employees working on or near tracks are responsible for their own safety, and one of the two workers who died should have been acting as a lookout. "Under simple approval, they're to expect a train on any track, in any direction, at any time," Southworth explained. BART's posted statement about the incident says the two workers were performing track inspections in response to a report about a dip in the track. "Both people had extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry. The procedures involved in track maintenance require one employee to inspect the track and the other to act as a lookout and notify of any oncoming traffic," according to the agency.

BART indefinitely suspended its "simple approval" practice one day after the men were hit, ordering that access to right of way be done with work areas that protect crews from train movement and restricting trains below 27 mph in all work areas, or else stopped or routed around them, Matthias Gafni of the Contra Costa Times reported.

Southworth said the BART cars are not equipped with systems that measure their speed. Investigators have requested 30 days of maintenance records from the cars involved in the incident, and BART is assembling the data, he said, adding that the cars' lights, horn, and brakes were operable with no defects noted. The trainee operator and the supervisor trainer are among the people investigators have interviewed, he said.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Steps to Conduct a JSA

    We've put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you perform a job safety analysis (JSA), which includes a pre-built, JSA checklist and template, steps of a JSA, list of potential job hazards, and an overview of hazard control hierarchy.

  • Everything You Need to Know about Incident investigations

    Need some tips for conducting an incident investigation at work after there’s been an occupational injury or illness, or maybe even a near miss? This guide presents a comprehensive overview of methods of performing incident investigations to lead you through your next steps.

  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - November December 2020

    November December 2020

    Featuring:

    • COLD STRESS
      Managing Cold Stress
    • TRAINING: FALL PROTECTION
      Providing Training for Fall Protection
    • PPE: HEARING PROTECTION
      Eight Tips for Hearing Testing Day
    • FACILITY SECURITY
      Incorporating COVID-19 Protections into Safety Programs
    View This Issue