NYC transit worker’s death prompts training reflection

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In the early morning hours of April 24, Transit Workers Union Local 100 member Louis Moore, who helped maintain the signal system of New York City's transit system, was struck and killed by a train while he was working on a track bed.

Moore's tragic death marks the end of the longest period in the history of the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) without the death of a union-represented worker on the tracks. This extended period of relative "on track" safety was likely the result of the unprecedented changes in track safety procedures that followed the deaths of Daniel Boggs and Marvin Franklin in 2007.

The deaths of Boggs and Franklin resulted in a sweeping review of safety procedures, spearheaded by the union's leadership, which also worked with the NYCTA leadership to initiate a historic training for workers and managers, which takes place on transit authority time. It is important to point out that all NYCTA mangers, from the bottom to the top, were compelled to participate in this training impress on all levels of management the primacy of track safety.

At this point a moment should be taken to fully appreciate this training. It really represented a unique achievement for TWU Local 100. Not only did it represent a high point for labor's achievements in the United States, but resulted in real improvements in worker safety for all. These improvements included not only track safety legislation and the establishment of a track safety committee with authority, but also concrete procedural changes, such as the definition of adjacent tracks, requirements that tower operators alert train operators to the presence of all groups or individuals working on the tracks and enhancements to point-to-point flagging protection for maintainers. This was the basis for the extended period of track safety.

Unfortunately, after five-six years, the momentum generated by this safety victory seems to have dissipated and safety has once again been sent to the back of the bus by transit authority management. Reportedly, within hours after the death of Moore, before any initial investigation could be concluded, management was again sending work crews out on the tracks.

Photo: Louis Moore (via TWU 100)

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