Feelings of anger and deep grief often surround tragic workplace accidents. California law requires certain safety guidelines and restrictions where employees must be provided a safely functioning environment to ensure their protection. Recent BART workplace accidents under investigation may uncover failures in safety measures making workers’ compensation benefits available for those who may have suffered from an injury or loss of a loved one employed with the agency.

The fatal accident occurred when an employee and contractor were hit by a four-car train travelling over 60 miles per hour. The train was operated by a trainee who was supervised by two other present employees at the time of the crash. Reports indicate that the driver may have had the train in automatic mode with the knowledge that people were ahead somewhere on the tracks. The two men who were tragically killed had received simple approval to enter the tracks into the right-of-way area prior to the accident. Simple approval explicitly denies protection of employees against the operation of the trains in restricted areas and urges them to keep from interfering with the regular operation of trains.

Previous work accidents that resulted from granting simple approval to other employees may have occurred from lack of communication between personnel as well as limited visibility. Reports show that federal investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board will conduct a re-enactment of the BART accident that killed the two workers inspecting tracks for the train system. A sight/distance test is being used to gather additional information in the incident. Cal OSHA has issued four citations against BART with $28,685 in fines for purported violations including the simple approval system.

According to California state law, if an agency is cited by OSHA they must correct found problems after the situation has been completed legally. As the BART workplace accidents under investigation continue and evidence is found, the agency may fall responsible for negligence and OSHA citations. Workers who have been injured or killed while working at BART may seek guidance in pursuing legal action to obtain rightful workers’ compensation.

Source: kqed.org, BART Probe: Investigators Re-Enact Fatal Accident, Dan Brekke, Oct. 23, 2013