BART Fatal Accident Report Closes Book on 2013 Deaths

The National Transportation and Safety Board report concludes that the deaths were the result of BART rules that made the workers responsible for their own safety. BART immediately changed its rules after the tragedy and later followed other recommended changes.

By Andrew McGall, Contra Costa Times

A federal agency's final report released April 14 closed the book on the 2013 BART accident that killed two trackside workers, laying the blame on the transit agency's inadequate safety rules. The National Transportation and Safety Board report concludes that the deaths were the result of BART rules that made the workers responsible for their own safety. The state's work-safety agency, Cal/OSHA, fined BART $210,000 for "serious and willful safety violations."

BART immediately changed its rules after the tragedy and later followed other recommended changes.

But the NTSB report notes that another federal agency has not required changes to protect workers nationwide. The safety board says it urgently recommended that the Federal Transit Administration adopt new safety rules, but that agency issued only a safety advisory. The Safety Board says it twice more in 2014 said the transit agency needs to require worker protections and said the matter is still open.

BART General Manager Grace Crunican on April 14 expressed sympathy for the two workers who died, Hayward resident Christopher Sheppard, 58, and Fair Oaks resident Laurence Daniels, 66. She noted the extensive changes in the transit agency's safety and training since the accident included slowing or stopping trains when workers are near the tracks, requiring confirmation that workers have moved away from the tracks, giving trackside workers nearly a week's worth of training every two years, and spending $5.3 million on roadway worker safety, including hiring 40 additional workers.

The Contra Costa Times, www.contracostatimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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