Electrical hazards in public areas at two Metrorail stations were verified by an electrical engineer hired by The Washington Post last week, four weeks after Metro assured the public its system was free of electrical problems.

The public assurances came after Metro conducted a systemwide inspection following the death by electric shock of a Northeast girl, who fell on a metal plate at the Addison Road station in Prince George's County June 4.

The electrical engineer told The Post that two bunches of exposed electrical wires at the Huntington station in Fairfax County and two improperly covered boxes of wires at the Shady Grove station in Montgomery County represented violations of the National Electrical Code and potential dangers to the public. The code details nationally accepted safety standards for electrical work.

Mark Harris, vice president of electrical engineering for Shefferman & Bigelson Co., a Silver Spring engineering consulting firm, wrote his report Thursday after visiting the two stations Wednesday.

Metro was given a copy of the report Thursday evening and has since covered all the exposed wires, said John Egbert, the transit agency's deputy general manager. The wires at the Huntington station were covered temporarily with plywood boxes; those at the Shady Grove station with metal plates.

The Post hired the electrical engineer to evaluate the sites after learning that city and county inspectors do not examine Metro's work and are not empowered to respond to complaints about possible hazards on Metro property.

"This has many code violations," Harris wrote of the situation at the entrance to the lower parking lot of the Huntington station. "There is also a great danger here if someone should trip and tear the splices apart. Such a condition could cause electric shock or electrocution."

The accident June 4 occurred when 12-year-old Alice Marie Lucy fell on a metal plate covering a box of wires behind the bus shelters at the Addison Road station. It was raining, and the plate apparently was in direct contact with an electrical wire.

A Forestville woman said later she told two kiosk attendants at the Addison Road station that the plate had shocked her three weeks before Lucy's death but that the Metro employes seemed unconcerned.

One Metro source, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, said that Metro has a problem with sloppy electrical work performed by maintenance employes who lack electrical licenses, proper training or adequate supervision.

Metro's director of facilities maintenance, David O. Cooksey, said through a spokeswoman that no maintenance employe without an electrical license is supposed to do electrical work other than changing parking lot light bulbs, and then only under the supervision of one of the department's 29 licensed electricians.

The Urban Mass Transportation Administration, which disburses federal transit aid, holds Metro and other systems "responsible for the safety and maintenance of the systems they manage," said spokesman James L. Bynum. However, there are no federal rail transit safety regulations, a fact that has been criticized from time to time by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Metro is generally "self-regulating" on safety issues, said board member Cleatus E. Barnett. "I see no problem with that."

"We're responsible," said Metro board Chairman Joseph Alexander. "Our job is to provide a safe system, and that's it."

Harris, in his report to The Post, said that at Huntington:Three wires emerged from a 14-inch pipe standing in the ground at the lower-level Metrobus entrance. The insulation of one wire was cracked, showing the conductors inside. Under the code, the wires should be removed and the pipe should be capped. "It can also be a potential hazard if the wiring becomes energized and touched by a person." Eight wires emerged from two pipes in the ground; there was no junction box, the wires were exposed to the weather, the wire ends were not properly capped, and the pipes should not be exposed. Under the code, the wires and the pipes should have been contained in a covered junction box.

At Shady Grove, Harris wrote: One junction box was partially covered with a torn metal plate, leaving a jagged hole about 6 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Under the code, the box should have been entirely covered. "It is also dangerous because a person could easily put his hand in the box and touch exposed wiring." Another box was covered by a movable piece of plywood fixed with one screw. Inside, a square piece of metal lay on top of exposed wires. That cover violated the code, Harris said. "It is also a potential hazard because the wood cover is easily moved exposing the wiring," he wrote.

The Post asked Harris to check only the Huntington and Shady Grove situations. A random survey of other outdoor stations by The Washington Post showed no other obvious electrical hazards.

Yesterday, the 12-inch-square boxes in the grass beside the west parking lot at Shady Grove were covered with steel plates. But until last week, three boxes were completely uncovered, exposing the wires within.

According to Raymond Meixner, a Rockville resident who uses the station, one box had been uncovered for at least six months and another had been uncovered since early 1986. Meixner said he reported the uncovered junction boxes to the station attendant more than 1 1/2 years ago.

The Huntington wires were exposed for at least nine months, a Metro source said.

After the June 4 accident, Metro officials said they inspected more than 1,400 outdoor electrical wiring boxes at its 26 outdoor stations but found no problem.

Metro has not completed its official investigation of Lucy's death nor explained how the plate came to be electrified, but a Prince George's County police captain said he saw a loose wire in the box when the plate was removed after the accident. A Prince George's police investigation is also continuing.

The electrical boxes that appear on or beside the sidewalks outside Metro stations contain wires carrying current from the stations to the outdoor parking lot lights and gates. The wires carry 120 to 277 volts.

The boxes normally are covered with metal lids, which are bolted shut to prevent tampering. If an electrical problem occurs, a maintenance worker can inspect the connections by removing the lid.

At Shady Grove, Metro lawnmowers have knocked off the sheet-metal lids of many junction boxes in the grass, Barnett said. Maintenance crews this week covered all the boxes with thicker plates and plan to pour concrete around the edges of the box so the lids will not protrude, he said.

Barnett said he was satisfied that Metro was aware of the problem and addressing it.

Barnett said the problem may be that some maintenance employes do not report or act on potential electrical hazards they may find because such problems are outside their responsibilities.

"A person mowing the grass sees the cover {to an electrical box} is off, but may not see it as his responsibility," Barnett said. "We need a means of sending it up the lines of authority."

Barnett said he and other board members are concerned about unresponsive kiosk attendants at stations who often receive public complaints but do not act upon them. "There, I will acknowledge, we have a problem," Barnett said.

This spring, Metro's board of directors ordered that a procedures manual for kiosk attendants be developed that would clarify their responsibility to act on all complaints, Barnett said.