For immediate release: September 21, 2017

Metro completes review of safety concern raised by union, 7K inspections to resume

Metro has completed its review of a safety concern raised by ATU Local 689 regarding inspection procedures for an electrical component on 7000-series railcars. The review, conducted with Metro engineers and engineers from the railcar manufacturer, found that the inspection procedures currently in place are appropriate and consistent with manufacturer guidelines. As such, mechanical inspections of 7000-series railcars will resume this afternoon following additional safety briefings with employees to reinforce these procedures.

"Part of creating a safety culture means taking immediate action to address concerns raised by employees. If a concern cannot be immediately resolved or requires further investigation, sometimes additional steps—such as a safety stand-down—must be taken in an abundance of caution," said Metro Chief Safety Officer Patrick Lavin. "We encourage the reporting of safety concerns, and thank our customers for their understanding as we place safety first."

Overnight, consistent with Metro's position that "safety trumps service," the transit agency voluntarily initiated a "safety stand-down," temporarily suspending mechanical inspections of 7000-series cars until the union's concern could be reviewed. The action resulted in about 18 percent fewer trainsets being available for service this morning.

The resolution of this matter means approximately 20 additional 7000-series trains will be available for the afternoon rush hour, and customers can expect a relatively normal afternoon commute. (The proportion of six-car trains versus eight-car trains may be slightly higher than normal this afternoon as Metro works to resolve the inspection backlog and place more cars in service.)