BART resists safety reforms in labor negotiations - Page 2


"The only change that took place was they added signage to the location saying you can't enter the area without 'simple' approval," Almanza said. Simple approval is a process where the worker recites a waiver that absolves BART of fault should they be injured or die. "They make you proclaim that you won't interfere with operations, and it means if you delay something or die, it's your fault." Robert Bright, a train mechanic at the Hayward BART shop, also told us he was worried about safety conditions for BART workers. In our previous coverage, "Tales from the Tracks," he said he's seen workers crushed under machinery and electrocuted due to lax safety conditions. CAL/OSHA's required changes are simple enough, requiring trained electricians to shut off power to the third rails and remove power breakers before maintenance crews work on the tracks to prevent the power from accidentally being switched back on. Almanza said the procedure saves lives. But BART management has paid its lawyers to resist the changes recommended by CAL/OSHA, documentation shows. Recent minutes from BART Board of Directors show the board voted unanimously to retain legal services from law firm Glynn and Finley to "mount a vigorous defense" against the safety citations issued by OSHA, saying the recommended changes were unnecessary and would have little effect on safety. Meeting minutes show the directors don't think it's a necessary procedure, but Almanza contends that it's a cost-saving measure, since electricians must be paid to remove the breakers. "If this prohibition is implemented, it would drastically change the way BART performs maintenance operations with no anticipated improvement in safety," according to meeting minutes. It went on to state that the procedure introduces additional safety risks, which Almanza denies. The board then moved to approve a $188,000 increase for legal services to challenge the CAL/OSHA changes — almost as much as the agency paid in fines for safety violations in the first place.


so, while we can understand their emphasizing safety, it is too little too late. BARt management has the full support of taxpayers and farepayers in standing up to these selfish workers, slapping them down, and giving common sense a chance.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

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