After introductions of members and guests, the following presentations were made:
Hazard Communication Training – Collin Roller, MCAT
The presentation provided an overview of key points regarding awareness and communication regarding hazardous materials in the workplace. A key takeaway was that the current Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) system is being replaced by a new “Globally Harmonized System” providing new safety data sheets that include pictograms to assist people with language and/or comprehensive barriers. This new system will go into effect in June 2015.
A question was raised about how agencies are introducing the phased approach, and whether anyone could offer hindsight or helpful hints such as timelines for training. In response, Lisa mentioned that CUTR could coordinate OSHA training if needed.
Training Sets the Image (new training simulator at LYNX) – Stephen Berry, LYNX
The presentation provided an overview of LYNX’s experience with a new training simulator, along with some lessons learned, including:
- Be very proactive and involved in the process of the simulator design. For example, the issue of power fluctuations in Florida due to storms was not addressed in the beginning. Lightning destroyed several expensive power systems, which required going back to the simulator company and restructuring the power systems.
- Motion sickness during simulator training can be an issue. LYNX has done a lot to prevent/mitigate motion sickness by getting people acclimated to the simulator training environment, e.g. temperature control, Dramamine, onboarding.
- It has been very beneficial to get buy-in from all parties involved, particularly doing as much up-front due diligence with the union as possible (LYNX got an LOA and waiver), to avoid the attitude that “simulator training is a useless hassle that just makes people sick.”
- Simulator training is slowly being integrated into new driver training, but also offers an excellent tool for refresher training of operators that are already doing a good job.
- There are lots of “horror stories” associated with simulator training, but it can be very positive when it is done the right way.
Lisa Staes raised the question of how data is collected over time to identify trends and answer the question of whether safety records are being improved as a result of the training. Steve responded that the learning management system can track this information, that it is being tracked at LYNX, and that he will be able to have answers in the future as to its effectiveness in terms of improved safety.
A question was asked about whether simulator training has been exclusive to LYNX, or whether it has been open to participation from other entities, such as school districts. Steve responded that LYNX has reached out to the county for those who will benefit from what has been learned.
Collin from JTA asked about how the interaction with DriveCam has been in terms of tracking preventables, etc. He went on to describe how JTA uses the DriveCam system to identify risky behaviors before accidents happen and to advise drivers, not as a disciplinary measure. This lead to a small side discussion in which Victor said he would like to hear more about this. A presentation on JTA’s experience with DriveCam was suggested as a possible topic for the next FTSN quarterly meeting.
At the conclusion of the presentation, Victor asked whether LYNX would be interested in hosting a meeting for others to learn about the simulator and see the different training scenarios. Steve responded with a definite “yes.”
FTSN Committee Reports and Discussion
Bus Operator and Passenger Safety Committee
Steve Berry brought forth the following two issues for discussion:
Automated External Defibrillators (AED)
Steve began the discussion by recounting a recent incident on the LYNX system where a client had a heart attack at LYNX Central Station and subsequently died. The AED was never deployed. The question is: What is the transit agency’s responsibility for first aid in general, and more specifically with respect to AEDs? For instance, should AEDs be deployed in all street units? Before opening the forum to general discussion, Steve went on to remark that, while it would be nice to be able to assist in medical emergencies, it may not be in an agency’s best interests to do so.
The following general comments were made:
- From a risk management perspective, one protocol mentioned: do not make physical contact with clients or you become responsible. The only action that should be taken is to call the proper authorities.
First aid and CPR training used to be required for paratransit operators and participants wondered if it still is or if it is voluntary.
- A few agencies mentioned that while AEDs could be found in the main transit center or administrative buildings, they are for the employees, not for use on the general client population.
- It was suggested that maybe it would be best to just stay away from AEDs altogether. Once you have them, you’re “on the hook.” If an incident occurs and the AED isn’t used, the agency may get flack for not using it; if it is used, but used improperly, the agency will get flack for using it. Perhaps they could be OK in controlled areas, such as headquarter facilities.
- Victor stated that he is not a proponent of the use of AEDs by transit operators. Operators are trained for safety within their realm, which does not include life support. Adding AEDs could actually be adding a hazard because operators are not trained emergency medical professionals. In addition, it could be a source of stress for operators by adding to the long list of responsibilities they already have.
Steve introduced this subject by showing on-board videos of two recent incidents in which the drivers were responsible for escalating confrontations with passengers, rather than trying to contain them. He noted that these types of incidents are becoming more common, almost to the point of needing a new category for driver-instigated incidents. Several in the group confirmed that they are also seeing an increase in this type of incident.
Lisa mentioned the possibility of assault-related computer based training (CBT). The training would be developed jointly by the FTSN’s Bus Operator/Passenger Safety Committee and the Safety Training Committee, with assistance from CUTR. Among other things, the training could address behavioral skills and de-escalation, using video examples such as those shown during the meeting. By helping operators identify how easily situations can escalate, the training could be a useful deterrent. Another goal of this effort would be to incorporate the training into minimum guidelines for refresher training.
The following general comments were also made:
- These incidents could be considered assault “close calls.”
- The type of customer service that needs to be provided by transit employees is far different than previous customer service experience- we need to keep this in mind when hiring new people who claim to have customer service experience.
- Operators should be reminded that “you don’t know who that person is getting on your bus” and what they may be capable of. (Two recent incidents were recalled by Dave Kelsey from HART in which people boarded public transit buses right after having committed violent crimes.)
- Along with training that shows videos of the negative examples where an operator handled something badly, positive videos should be used to show examples of how to properly handle these types of situations.
- A possible initiative – look into establishing critical guidelines for operator selection.
Distracted Driving Committee
Lydia Chung introduced the following topics for discussion:
- Internal driver distractions, such as diabetes and sleep apnea, as well as stressors about home issues, financial problems.
- The importance of helping people stay on top of their health and medications, and wondered if anyone had anything to share. One suggestion was to use EAP programs earlier rather than later.
- External distractions, such as pedestrians and bicyclists
- On-board distractions, such as passengers and equipment
- The conflict between customer service and safety: operators need to be trained in appropriate times to converse with patrons
Lydia stressed that operators need to be aware of these types of distractions, which are beyond the norm of what they might expect. Lisa suggested that perhaps there is a need to add an additional training or expand existing training to cover these “beyond the norm” distractions. It was also suggested that such a training may be a natural fit for annual refresher training.
In terms of minimum guidelines for annual refresher training, the question was asked: What should be covered in terms of agenda and content? Lisa and Paul suggested the idea of forming a subcommittee to address this, and asked that members not currently on the Training Committee please communicate their interest.
Lisa also brought up the question of the best approach for determining specific training needs from FTSN members. While participation in the survey has been good, answers tend to be too general. CUTR really needs more specific information to better serve member needs. On this point, Paul Goyette stated that members have an obligation to specific ideas to CUTR for research projects. Victor concurred on the need for specific ideas that address the most pressing needs regarding transit safety, citing the issue of not wanting to spend limited funds on a “shot in the dark” with the hope it meets needs. Eustache Mine that the survey is still a good tool and suggested that CUTR develop and distribute a training survey to FTSN members.
Another issue Lisa mentioned was that there seemed to be some interest in doing OSHA trainer certification for Florida. To move forward, she asked members to answer these questions (1) Is there an interest? (2) If so, what electives would you see as most relevant for your agency? While several people felt it would be a good idea, there was also concern over whether moving from paperwork certification to true, functional compliance may be cost-prohibitive for agencies. Lisa mentioned that she would bring this issue to Ed Bart to see if the Florida Transit Maintenance Consortium members might be interested in discussing this topic as well.
Upcoming FDOT Sponsored Transit Safety-Related CUTR Research
Examination of Passenger Assaults on Bus Transit Systems
Lisa mentioned that CUTR would be asking the committees for help and input on this project.
The question was raised as to whether the research would address the safety of the barrier protection systems. Lisa responded that there has been CUTR research in this area, albeit older research, that she could share, as well as a previous FTSN member presentation from MTA Baltimore.
The following points were brought up:
- The system safety strategy of “design out the hazard” can also be used for assault prevention, during the hiring process: ask key personality questions.
- It may be beneficial to get union buy-in. Bring them into the process and ask them: what type of behavior do you expect from bus operators?
- We have to confront the cultural barriers to assault prevention. For instance, the issue of how difficult it is to fire people in our current culture. There needs to be a zero tolerance culture.
- Cultural change also occurs at the management level, such as management decisions with regard to hiring for customer service.
- Lisa mentioned that for the next meeting, we should discuss drafting guidelines for hiring.
Strategies to Prevent, Reduce, and Mitigate Bus Collisions
The discussion of bus collisions was introduced with a video of a rear-end collision that occurred on Star Metro’s system at a far-side stop. After showing the video, Don Worrell asked if there were any FDOT guidelines regarding distance from the intersection for placement of far-side stops. Responses seemed to indicate that the only requirements were for the bus to clear the intersection and crosswalk. Paul Goyette mentioned that there is a push to require bus berths or turn-lane stops in 40+ mph zones as a standard, the idea being to get stops off the road in any way possible.
Next, Bill Morris gave a brief presentation overview of the research project, and let meeting participants know that CUTR will be asking agencies for their System Safety Program Plans (SSPPs) with relevance to collisions, accident tracking and follow-up, and post incident procedures. The final product of the research will include outcomes that agencies can act on and adopt immediately to mitigate collisions.
Victor encouraged all to be proactively involved with this research effort.
Other FTSN Member Discussion
Development of Operations/Maintenance/Safety (OMS) Advisory Group
Rob Gregg suggested that, because of relationships and crossover between the Florida Operations Network (FON), the FTSN, and other state transit networks, the creation of an ad-hoc working group with representation from all of Florida’s transit networks may increase the value of the networks to each other and to FDOT. Such a group could share information and give feedback regarding work that should be handed off or shared with other networks. Paul Goyette gave the example of the operations and planning networks, and how there needs to be crossover so that each network can understand the other’s challenges and concerns. Ed Clark suggested that one quarter of the year should be used for a combined meeting, perhaps with presentations. Eustache Mine mentioned that the FPTA Professional Development Workshop could introduce a session that includes all these groups – even marketing- from a safety perspective.
2015 FPTA Transit Safety Awards Committee
After presenting an overview of the FPTA Transit Safety Awards history and how the awards process will be changing, Jay Goodwill requested a few FTSN volunteers to work with CUTR to develop a revised approach and nomination package. Victor suggested that the chair of each FTSN committee sit on the Awards Committee to help with the process, and then bring the results before the full committee before final endorsement.
Medical Examination Forms
Victor explained that new FMCSR standards regarding CMV certification processes has created some confusion where medical examiners are telling agencies that they must comply with FMCSR rules/standards. Victor wanted to make absolutely certain that agencies understand that public transit bus systems are not defined as federal motor carriers, and are therefore under FDOT jurisdiction, not federal jurisdiction. The standards to which buses in Florida are held can be found in Chapter 14-90, Florida Administrative Code (FAC) which gives agencies two options from which to choose. One of these options is to use the FMCSR form, but it is not a requirement. The other option is to utilize the FDOT medical review form. Transit agencies need to remember that they choose their standards according to Chapter 14-90. There should not be mixed forms or mixed standards; an agency’s SSPP will contain whatever standards that agency follows. Medical examiners do not have the authority to dictate an agency’s standards. Victor urged any agencies dealing with this type of situation to have the medical examiner contact him directly.
Chapter 14-90, FAC Rule Modification Process
Victor asked for some initial thoughts from the group for beginning the process of rule development. The following were suggested as topics to consider:
- Mandatory refresher training
- Medical exams
- Hours of service, spread times, second jobs
Victor emphasized that rule development is just the beginning; when the process moves to the rule adoption phase, anyone can “chime in,” workshops may be held, etc. He also stressed that FTSN members will be integral to the process. There will be lots of back-and-forth discussion, and if it can be handled within FTSN, if we are of one accord, it will really help. We don’t want to be split, because lots of others will be in on the discussion.
Victor also mentioned his own opinion on the importance of developing corrective actions, especially in the case of an injury or fatality. He also cited the problem of “preventable/non-preventable” language, and that “no fault” on the part of the operator does not mean that an accident couldn’t be prevented.