MOSH Issues Citations Related to Metrorail Worker Fatalities


Workplace safety agency cites departures from safety rules, inadequate supervision

(BALTIMORE, 7/30/10) -- Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH), a unit of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), today confirmed that it has issued two citations containing a total of four violations, three of which were designated as serious, against the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The violations are the result of an investigation into a workplace accident resulting in fatal injuries to two Metrorail workers in Rockville, Maryland, in January 2010.

An employer has a general duty to provide a safe and healthful workplace, free of recognized hazards. MOSH’s investigation revealed departures from WMATA’s own safety rules. MOSH worked with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which ordinarily does not investigate workplace accidents but did in this case because of WMATA’s recent history of accidents. MOSH is required by law to complete investigations faster than NTSB, hence the issuance of citations while NTSB’s investigation is ongoing. The NTSB investigates public transportation accidents, decides on a probable cause, and issues safety recommendations.

Ron DeJuliis, Commissioner of Labor and Industry at DLLR, emphasized that MOSH’s investigation focused on the facts and circumstances leading up to this tragic event. MOSH is recommending several abatement steps to WMATA, including developing a reliable communications system throughout Metrorail that has dedicated frequencies and is free of dead zones and interference from outside radio transmissions.

Employers cited by MOSH are required to abate violations within 15 business days unless they choose to contest the citations.