Earlier this month, two workers with Bay Area Rapid Transit were killed in a serious mishap. The workers, according to sources, had been inspecting the track for defects when they were struck by a maintenance train. Authorities reported after the tragic event that the train had been operating in automatic mode with an "experienced operator" at the computer controls, and that both the workers who were killed had "extensive experience" with both freight and passenger trains.
Other sources say that following the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation, which has determined that a trainee had been operating the train at the time. There was also another trainee on board, and both were being supervised by a management trainer.
BART has said that the accident had nothing to do with the ongoing strike concerning worker rules--the second one in four months. The strike involves issues such as workday length and when overtime pay should kick in.
BART is the nation's fifth largest transit system, and serves around 400,000 round-trip passengers each workday. It is certainly unsettling that such a large commercial carrier made a mistake like this.
Safety issues during work can occur in any profession, but some occupations carry more risk than others. Those working in the industrial professions or in transportation face significant risks on their jobs every day and count on their employers to have their back when they are injured in the course of duty. Workers who have problems with this support do well to contact a lawyer to determine what their rights are and the best way to proceed.
Source: Los Angeles Times, "Trainee was operating BART train that struck workers, NTSB says," Maura Dolan, October 21, 2013.