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WMATA completes survey examining agency's safety culture


Last week, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) released results from an employee safety survey at the first meeting of the board’s new safety and security committee meeting.

Completed by more than 9,300 employees, the survey showed that 60 percent of those polled said they have observed a safety concern or violation at WMATA during the past year. The No. 1 concern: unsafe working conditions. About 70 percent of those who observed a safety issue reported it. Many of those who didn’t report their concern cited a fear of how their peers might react and whether WMATA would respond and protect them as the reason.

The survey also showed there isn’t one safety culture at the agency; different groups of employees have different perceptions about WMATA safety based on their job function and work location.

The Corporate Executive Board, which designed and conducted the survey, provided recommendations for improving the safety culture. Short- and mid-term recommendations include communicating the survey results to the 10,000-plus workforce and investigating incidents that were identified through written comments. Long-term recommendations suggested that WMATA continue to develop a better understanding of major safety concerns relating to unsafe working conditions and employee behavior.

“These survey results provide a clear road map to develop a long-term, action-specific safety plan to reach our goal to make safety fundamental in our day-to-day operation,” said Interim General Manager Richard Sarles in a prepared statement. “The plan itself will dovetail actions we already have taken to improve our safety culture.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/1/2010