As Metro maintenance continues, workers have safety training

WASHINGTON — Workers focused on fixing Metro’s basic infrastructure over the next year also must focus on their safety as they carry out maintenance.

Those doing track work take part in roadway worker protection training, which focuses on basic safety rules and signals that can keep workers safe when working on or around the rail system.

Among the basic rules:

  • Look both ways.
  • Expect trains from any direction at any time.
  • Follow the directions of the worker in charge.
  • When you need to get out of the way, do not move onto the other track since a train could be coming there too.

Metro mandates that all workers have reflective vests, hard hats, proper shoes and flashlights. In properly set up work zones, signals with flashlights will tell trains to stop or clear equipment to move, and an air horn or whistle can warn workers to get out of the way.

Also, Metro has ordered trains to go slower when passing work crews, reducing speeds to 10 mph rather than 35 mph. The Federal Transit Administration directed improvements to worker protection too once they found this spring that work zone speed limits were sometimes ignored anyway.

Anyone on the tracks must be very careful near the third rail and the train wheel assemblies that draw power. There is even a recommended way to safely step over the third rail into the middle of the tracks if a gap in the third rail is not nearby.

Workers should always be aware of safe places in their area, which can include ducking into the small space underneath a platform overhang in an absolute emergency.

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