FTA issues safety advisory for right-of-way workers

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a safety advisory guidance document concerning the protection of right-of-way (ROW) workers, as well as a request for information from transit agencies and State Safety Oversight (SSO) agencies that will be used to review the nation's rail transit right-of-way worker safeguards.


The action follows National Transportation Safety Board recommendations issued Dec. 19, 2013, urging the FTA to issue a directive to all rail transit agencies to require redundant protection for railway right-of-way workers.

“October 2013 was one of the deadliest months on record for the nation’s rail transit workers. Three workers were killed and two were seriously injured in two separate accidents on the rail transit right-of-way. Since 2002, 28 rail transit workers have lost their lives while working to maintain the nation’s rail transit infrastructure,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff wrote in a policy letter.

FTA Safety Advisory 14-1 requests that SSO agencies coordinate with the rail transit agencies in their jurisdiction to complete the following:

• Inventory current practices, including the identification of the rules, procedures, technology and other elements currently in place to protect ROW workers.

• Conduct a formal hazard analysis regarding workers’ access to the ROW and how the protections identified in the inventory address the consequences associated with each hazard.

The FTA says the ultimate objective of this activity is two-fold: first, to aid agencies in determining options for eliminating access that depends solely on ROW workers to provide protection from trains and moving equipment and secondly, to determine if existing safety barriers adequately protect workers from train movements and other ROW risks.

“We look forward to working with you to ensure that every transit worker goes home safely at the end of his or her shift,” wrote Rogoff.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training