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Metro Strives To Improve Worker Communication

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A black banner outside Metro's headquarters commemorates the two employees killed on the tracks early Tuesday morning.
Rebecca Sheir
A black banner outside Metro's headquarters commemorates the two employees killed on the tracks early Tuesday morning.

By Rebecca Sheir

Metro is expected to release a list of steps it's taking to improve worker safety today. The announcement comes one day after an accident killed two workers on Red Line tracks. One of Metro's chief concerns is communication.

Michael Taborn Chief of Metro Transit Police says the list addresses 18 issues brought up last month in an audit from the Tri-State Oversight Committee, which monitors safety at Metro.

"We've identified training initiatives," says Taborn. "We've identified ways to enhance and improve our rules, to identify and pinpoint possible causes of problems that are related to the safety of our employees, as well as the patrons that ride our system."

Taborn says Metro also is striving to address an issue that comes up repeatedly in last months audit: communication. The report cites cases of train operators not responding to hand signals from track personnel and Metros control center failing to warn operators about workers near the tracks.

Yesterdays accident didn't involve train operators; a maintenance vehicle struck the two men. But Stephen Klejst, who's heading the National Transportation Safety Boards examination of the case, says communication still is key.

"Communication between the operations control center and all of the employees involved is one the critical elements that were going to be including in our investigations," says Klejst.

Klejst says the Board will conduct interviews with the people involved, and listen to radio recordings between the control center and crews on the tracks, to get a clearer idea of what happened.

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