Train operator calls on MTA to step up safety measures following worker's death at Wakefield maintenance yard

A Metropolitan Transportation Agency worker is speaking out about safety conditions after a worker fell and died on the tracks earlier this month in Wakefield.

News 12 Staff

Sep 28, 2020, 3:48 PM

Updated 1,327 days ago

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A Metropolitan Transportation Agency worker is speaking out about safety conditions after a worker fell and died on the tracks earlier this month in Wakefield.
In a video uploaded to Twitter, an MTA worker is heard counting the number of lights out at the yard and maintenance shop on 239th St. The video was taken several days ago, just a week after an MTA employee died there.
The MTA says a car cleaner was attempting to cross the tracks when he fell and died around 5 a.m.
The man who posted the video on Twitter is a current train operator out of Coney Island.
"There's too many times that a train operator is sent by himself down the tracks alone," says train operator Canella Gomez.
Gomez says his colleagues that work at the train yard have put in requests since March 2019 about the lights not working at night. He believes it could have been a factor when the car cleaner fell on the tracks.
"You have to take into consideration that maybe he couldn't see, maybe the lights being out did affect him seeing," Gomez says.
In a statement to News 12, the MTA said the lights were working properly the morning the employee fell, but it's investigating the claim.
Gomez wants the MTA to care more about their employees when it comes to safety.
"As our employer, we'd like them to take care of their employees. If employees have a problem with the facility, get it fixed," Gomez emphasizes.
Transport Workers Union Local 100 said in a statement to News 12,
"There's no question that the lighting in all the yards and barns need to be improved..."
And it later reads,
"Management has made some Band-aid or piecemeal fixes but not the comprehensive effort that's really needed."
Gomez hopes the MTA will enforce a buddy system when employees go on the tracks to prevent another accident from happening.
An MTA spokesperson told News 12 in a statement, "It's premature to speculate about contributing causes of this tragic incident. While our hearts go out to the family of our colleague, we are awaiting findings from both the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner and NYC Transit Office of System Safety before reaching conclusions."


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