WOBURN, Mass. – Following the Jan. 9 deaths of two workers on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Teamsters voiced their disappointment to what they say is a poor safety record on the railroad.
“Per mile of railroad operated, MBCR has one of the worst roadway worker safety records of any railroad in the country,” said Rick Inclima, Director of Safety for BMWED. “There have been four BMWED roadway worker fatalities on the MBCR since December 6, 2003, yet the railroad has not taken significant steps to improve roadway worker safety. MBCR management still refuses to even fill the vacant BMWED safety liaison positions.”
The workers were killed after a MBTA train was mistakenly routed onto the track where they were working. Several other crewmembers were injured, at least one seriously.
According to initial reports, the work crew had taken the appropriate safety measures and had clearance to occupy the track to conduct maintenance. Trains were correctly re-routed around the roadway work crew for the entire day until, for reasons unknown at this time, a MBCR commuter train was routed directly onto the track where the men and equipment were authorized by the dispatch center to work on the track.
Amtrak ran the commuter service in the Boston area for years without incident while providing strong support for the BMWED safety liaisons and the resulting safety culture, the Teamsters say. Since MBCR took over operations on July 1, 2003 and abolished the safety liaison positions, there have been four BMWED roadway worker fatalities, the highest of any commuter railroad in the country, the Teamsters contend.
“We call on MBCR to take immediate steps to end this carnage,” said Perry Geller, Secretary-Treasurer of the BMWED. “And we call on MBCR to abandon their cavalier approach to roadway worker safety and to immediately reinstate the safety liaison positions which were in effect prior to MBCR assumption of operations in July 2003. We expect decisive and immediate action by MBCR. Failure to do so will not be tolerated by BMWED and its members.”