MTA sets Safety Committee, Chief Safety Officer

Written by Douglas John Bowen

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 it is creating the position of Chief Safety Officer, a new senior management post reporting directly to Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, to ensure safety is a top priority throughout all MTA operations.

Anne Kirsch was named to the post of Chief Safety Officer.

MTA will also create a new Safety Committee on its board to provide focused oversight of safety issues.

As well, each MTA agency – presumably, including the agency’s road and bridge subsidiaries – “will ensure its top safety official reports directly to the agency’s president, to reinforce that safety is a prime concern for every agency’s management. At Metro-North Railroad, where safety and security now report to the same position, the responsibilities will be separated and a new position of Chief Safety Officer will be created,” MTA said.

Metro-North’s string of incidents during 2013, including a derailment last December that killed four, have drawn intense scrutiny from the local media, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Federal Railroad Administration.

“The safety of our customers and employees is unquestionably the top priority for the MTA, and these steps will make sure this emphasis on safety is built into the operations of every MTA agency,” Prendergast said. “The events of the last year have made clear to everyone in the MTA how important it is to create a culture where all employees act to eliminate risks, and changing our executive structure will ensure safety remains a dedicated agency value.”

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