January 21, 2022

Metro desires to improved track workers’ ‘fitness,’ audit suggests

4 min read

D.C.’s Metro process desires to far better track no matter whether workforce in sensitive security positions are in shape for the position, together with earning positive staff are not fatigued, don’t have any untreated professional medical problems that could incapacitate or hinder them, or are below the impact of medicines and alcohol.

D.C.’s Metro program desires to improved keep track of whether or not staff in delicate positions are in good shape for the work when they clearly show up for do the job, according to an audit from the Washington Metrorail Security Commission.

The document, introduced Tuesday, probed the transit agency’s “fitness for duty” applications for staff involved in “safety sensitive” positions, which involve rail controllers, coach operators and servicing staff, among the others.

It concluded that the Metro system essential to make absolutely sure personnel aren’t fatigued really don’t have untreated clinical troubles that could incapacitate or hinder them or are not under the impact of medicine and alcohol.

The courses help keep an eye on therapy of healthcare situations and defend in opposition to dangers such as fatigue “that would in any other case pose a danger of incapacitating, for case in point, a educate operator at the controls of a relocating coach,” the audit explained.

But auditors pointed out a range of deficiencies in Metro’s applications, saying the agency disregarded specifications that staff members in selected positions undertake physical tests and held poor drug- and alcoholic beverages-testing records.

“Metrorail are unable to fairly ensure that its staff and contractors who are conducting protection sensitive duties are free from impairment that could bring about incapacitation,” the report concluded.

Bodily exams

Metro procedures demand physical tests for personnel in sensitive positions at the very least every two yrs. But Metro has not obviously communicated the specifications to personnel “and does not get techniques to be certain the physicals are accomplished,” auditors wrote.

“There are many Metrorail employees who go without the required physicals for quite a few a long time, and that many Metrorail personnel are not mindful of this prerequisite,” the report reported, introducing that that heightens the danger “that a security delicate employee is operating a train or conducting other vital functions with undiagnosed or untreated ailments these as diabetes, substantial blood force and rest apnea that, when not effectively managed, enhance the possibility of reduction of consciousness.”

The security fee also claimed that Metro’s exhaustion-management policies — which have been caught up in many years of haggling concerning administration and staff unions — rely on “only fragmented data” for the distinct hours worked for many personnel. The commission mentioned that tends to make it complicated, and in some conditions impossible, to keep an eye on dangers these as fatigue.

Drug, alcoholic beverages testing

When it comes to drug and alcoholic beverages testing, Metro is demanded to exam personnel following any incidents underneath a plan from the U.S. Office of Transportation.

The security fee recommended Metro for further layers of testing, together with normal random tests. But auditors who reviewed documents stated they uncovered hundreds of random tests were hardly ever accomplished, with no explanations — these types of as the employee was on a lengthy-phrase getaway — presented in documentation.

General, the report recommended Metro increase its report-maintaining practices and workflow, instead of the hodgepodge of mainly paper documents it has now.

“Multiple persons interviewed for this audit discovered the deficiency of centralized electronic records programs as a hazard that boundaries monitoring and trending of facts,” the report mentioned. Regardless of the truth that Metro is one of the most significant rail programs in the U.S., “individuals interviewed for this audit acknowledged the rudimentary mother nature of these documents.”

The report promises that Metro “hindered” the commission’s “efforts to continue with this audit,” evidently proclaiming it was as well near in time to a independent audit of drug and alcohol tests needed by the Federal Transit Administration. The safety commission also said that Metro withheld information asked for by auditors and designed “misleading statements.”

In a temporary statement delivered to WTOP, Sherri Ly, a Metro spokeswoman reported: “Metro appreciates the function of the WMSC, which noted various good techniques and proactive steps presently taken to improve exercise of responsibility applications. We are examining the last report and will react with acceptable corrective motion designs.”

Later on Tuesday, Ly claimed in an e mail to WTOP, “We respectfully disagree with various statements in the report, like that Metro withheld data from the WMSC. We will outline these concerns by means of the CAP process.”

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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