Fatal Accident Prompts BART To Suspend Practice Requiring Track Workers To Be Responsible For Own Safety

BART has suspended a procedure known as “simple approval” for workers conducting maintenance along transit train tracks, a BART spokeswoman said tonight.

The procedure was in effect when a BART employee and contractor were struck and killed by a BART train on Saturday.

See all coverage of Saturday’s fatal BART collision here.

Track engineers Laurence Daniels, 66, and Christopher Sheppard, 58, were checking on a report of a dip in a stretch of trackway between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill BART stations a short time before 2 p.m. Saturday when they were fatally hit by a BART train.

Under the now-suspended procedure, workers were responsible for their own safety and were not guaranteed to be given warnings of approaching trains.

They were required to work in groups of at least two, with one person acting as a lookout, and to be prepared to be able to detect approach trains and leave the track within 15 seconds.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said, “As of Sunday, the operations staff was notified that Simple Approval access to the trackway was suspended until further notice.

“We put a moratorium on the process in an abundance of caution to allow time to evaluate what happened and as a precautionary measure,” Trost said.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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