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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Los Angeles MTA inks performance-based safety deal with DuPont


Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority receives an average of eight to 10 worker’s compensation claims per day, about 3,000 annually. And in fiscal-year 2001, MTA lost 108,000 work days — the equivalent of 415 full-time employees — due to lost-time injuries, compared with 96,000 days lost in fiscal-year 2000.

So the agency late last month approved a five-year contract with DuPont Safety Resources (DSR) to help create a safer work environment for the agency’s nearly 10,000 employees.

"It is very clear to us that MTA is very serious about taking the right steps in creating a safer workplace," said DSR President James Forsman in a prepared statement.

Under the performance-based contract, DSR would receive the contract-stipulated $13.8 million only when it achieves its goals, which include saving MTA $125 million over the next five years in lost-time injury days, cutting work-related injuries, and reducing bus and rail accidents.

"We’re trying to make this a safer place to work," said MTA Chief Executive Officer Roger Snoble. "DuPont is one of the safest companies in the world and can help us be the same."

DSR plans to change the safety culture at MTA in much the same way it has at dozens of other companies, including New York City Transit, which recorded 50 percent fewer lost-time injuries since it began working with DSR five years ago.

Since Oct. 1, 10 to 16 DSR employees have been at MTA working with the agency and meeting with employees. Most of MTA’s claims involve bus or rail operators, says Gary Wosk, MTA spokesperson.

"They claim injuries from repetitive-motion conditions or trying to adjust mirrors on a bus," he says. "Sitting all day can create back discomfort."

And MTA officials believe most work-comp claims are legitimate: Of the 9,000 claims submitted since 1998, 1,400 were flagged as warranting further investigation. Only 16 of the 1,400 were recommended for referral to the district attorney’s office for possible fraud. Two employees have been convicted and another 12 cases are pending.

"We’re committed to lowering worker’s compensation costs," says Wosk, adding that funds saved would be reinvested into service.

Kathi Kube

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/6/2001