Among the violations cited was not following safety certification procedures while testing automatic train operation, which is the driverless system that Metro used for decades and is considering reinstalling. The transit agency is also not scheduling, completing or tracking all preventive maintenance as required by manufacturer manuals, the commission said.
The audit said managers bypass preventive maintenance work without a standardized way of determining whether doing so is safe. There are no minimum training course requirements for new employees before they are assigned maintenance work on ATC machines or equipment, the safety commission said.
The audit also said Metro does not keep replacement parts in its inventory and has not planned for when ATC equipment becomes obsolete.
“Many ATC system elements are decades old and a significant portion are already beyond their useful life, but [Metro] has no coherent, unified plan to ensure that replacement parts are available to maintain the current system, to ensure that new parts are available for upgrades, or to comprehensively track the assets that require replacement based on life expectancy or average time to failure,” the audit stated.
One employee told the commission, according to the report, there were “major, major issues” in getting parts when needed. The audit also said employees were doing work with their own unregulated tools.
“Employees even stated that they are using their own rail grinders and impact wrenches,” the audit said. “This creates multiple safety risks.”
The commission gave Metro 45 days to address 16 issues the audit said needed improvement.
“As we review the findings of this audit and develop our responses, we remain committed to continuous improvement of our program and enhancing the safety of the system,” Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta said in a statement.
The audit did identify several areas where Metro has made progress in boosting safety and standards, including within its employee training programs and in record-keeping.