L.A. Metro halts Purple Line subway work: ‘Things need to change for the better now’

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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Work has been stopped on a portion of the L.A. Metro Purple Line project.

A long line of worker injuries has forced L.A. Metro to stuff a gauze in one of the main arteries of the Purple Line subway project.

All work has been stopped on the second phase of the extension work under Wilshire Boulevard due to a number of accidents and ongoing safety concerns.

L.A. Metro said it has sent 10 letters to contractor Tutor Perini O&G since October 2020 highlighting worker injuries and the need to crackdown on the safety environment. The problem has only worsened. Over nine injuries have occurred over the last year, including five in the last three months and two in the last 10 days. Metro accuses Tutor Perini O&G of failing to execute basic safety protocols. Some of the problems cited are tunnels that are not passable and areas that are extremely dusty and contain silica dust. Ventilation is not always in compliance with a Cal/OSHA-approved plan. Standing water and muck also can be found in the tunnels.

Before work can continue, Tutor Perini O&G needs to execute a thorough evaluation of past injuries and report back to Metro. A revised safety plan also needs to be prepared that includes additional safety training and safety meetings, and the contractor also needs to follow standards for housekeeping measures and the operation of equipment. If the response is lacking, Metro can start removing workers from the jobsite.

“Things need to change for the better and need to change for the better now,” Metro stated in the letter to Tutor Perini O&G.

“Safety is and will always be our first priority,” Metro said in a statement. “We expect the contractor to improve its safety policies and to demonstrate its full compliance with all of Metro’s contract safety requirements before we will allow work to continue.”

Tutor Perini O&G said it was working with Metro to address issues that have been identified and strives to live up to high safety standards.

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