Groups call for federal rule to protect transit workers from violence
As published in Safety & Health Magazine
Washington – Citing “an epidemic of workplace violence” against bus drivers and other transit operators, a group of organizations is calling on the Federal Transit Administration to issue a final rule that would strengthen protections against physical assaults and other attacks within the industry.
The AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department, the Transport Workers Union of America and several other labor unions requested the rulemaking in a letter sent April 7 to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. The groups seek a final rule to be published by the end of 2016. The long-term transportation funding bill known as the FAST Act requires FTA to review operator assaults and develop a proposal to tackle the issue, but the groups say federal rules “are urgently needed.”
FTA’s National Transit Database registers approximately 135 assaults on transit operators every year. That figure does not represent the full extent of the issue, the organizations claim.
“These incidents not only pose severe physical and emotional problems for the members we represent but jeopardize the safety of public transportation more broadly,” the letter states. “When operators are assaulted, passengers can be put at risk when violence spreads into a vehicle. And when an assault occurs while a bus is in operation, the driver may lose control, putting riders, other vehicles, and pedestrians in danger.”