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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

New York City Transit Accident and Prevention Program

Title: New York City Transit Accident and Prevention Program

Phase(s): Construction

Category: Management

Date: September 25, 1997

1. Background

The Queens Boulevard Connection Project is the largest new route's subway construction in the New York City Transit system. This project makes a connection between the existing 63rd Street Tunnel in Manhattan to the existing Queens Boulevard Line in Long Island City, Queens. The completed improvements will expand the ridership between these two boroughs substantially. An additional fifteen (15) trains per hour will route through the 63rd Street Tunnel, giving relief to the overcrowding that is presently being experienced on other inter-borough lines.

A comprehensive Accident and Prevention program has been initiated by the New York City Transit 63rd Street Connection Project. The elements that make up this program – including both the relationships that exist between the NYCT personnel and the contractor's personnel, and the activities conducted by the program safety manager – have been successful in bringing safety deficiencies to a minimum and keeping them within this minimum.

The 63rd Street Connection Project does not require that each contractor carry their own insurance but provides insurance for five out of the six contracts through their own insurance companies. This is referred to as the Owner Controlled Insurance Plan (OCIP). The OCIP provides benefits to the NYCT, such as lowered insurance premiums, and in turn, decreases the project budgets. The benefits of the OCIP can only be realized through a successful safety program that keeps accidents, injuries and lost time to a minimum.

2. The Lesson

The NYCT has hired an outside consultant as part of its OCIP to oversee and implement NYCT's Accident and Prevention Program and to act as the program safety manager. This program safety manager is on site full time, reports directly to the NYCT program manager, and along with the NYCT field engineers, is responsible for the successful implementation of the project's safety program.

NYCT contract specifications require the contractor to:

  • Hire a full-time, qualified, on-site safety engineer for each contract; and
  • Submit an Accident and Prevention Plan for acceptance.

This plan is then reviewed by the construction, quality and safety departments.

The program safety manager has initiated specific activities to ensure the accident and prevention program is being implemented successfully. The following is a summary of these specific activities:

Daily inspection of the job site:

The job site is inspected each day by both the program safety manager and the field engineers. The program safety manager performs a safety inspection every day noting any safety deficiencies that need to be corrected. Along with this site walk, the NYCT field engineers perform regular inspections to support the program safety manager by using their familiarity of the job site and bringing safety deficiencies to the attention of the program safety manager. Deficiencies are then documented and summarized in a Rolling Point System Deficiency Matrix (Attachment No. 1).

Rolling safety point system deficiency matrix:
This rolling point system is a weighted average technique measuring deficiency notification, corrective compliance efforts and violation severity.

  1. Deficiencies will be noted as:
    1. Imminent Hazard: Must be corrected immediately - poses a hazard to public and/or employee safety;
    2. Precautionary: Must be corrected within 24 hours - if not corrected will degenerate into an Imminent hazard, also hazard to property; and
    3. Nuisance: Must be corrected within 48 hours - does not pose a risk to persons or property.
  2. The deficiencies will be issued, tracked and reported by the NYCT program safety manager. "A" deficiencies will be immediately relayed to the construction managers (NYCT), contractor's safety engineer and the NYCT program manager. All "B" and "C" deficiencies shall be relayed to the NYCT construction manager, contractor's safety engineer and the NYCT program manager at the end of each shift.
  3. All deficiencies shall carry a point weight of 10 for "A" deficiencies, 5-9 for "B" deficiencies and 1-4 for "C" deficiencies. If deficiency is corrected within the allotted correction period, no points shall be assessed.
  4. If no correction takes place, the program safety manager, upon authorization of the program manager or his authorized representative may initiate correction, which will be back charged to the offending contractor.
  5. Deficiency points will be tracked monthly and for the duration of the project. Upon correction of the deficiency, the clock will stop on the deficiency, thus, no further action will be taken by the NYCT. The actual points assessed to each violation will be decided by the program safety manager depending upon its severity with the "A", "B", "C" category. (The category listing for safety deficiencies can be found as Attachment No. 2.)
  6. Active Point Assessment will be reviewed prior to each contractor payment request. Points will be multiplied by days outstanding to arrive at a total active point assessment. Total active points accrue until corrective action has been taken. For example, if a circuit breaker cover is missing on a box, an active point assessment of 10 is given to this deficiency. If this deficiency is not corrected for three days, it will accumulate ten (10) points per day for a total of 30 active points. If the sum value of the total active point assessment is equal to or greater than 100, The Job Will Be Stopped For A Safety Stand-Down Until All Items Are Corrected.
  7. Grievances on the point system action must be made in writing to the NYCT program manager with copies to the construction manager and program safety manager.

Photographing safety deficiencies at the job site:

The program safety manager uses a camera on his daily inspections to record safety deficiencies. This helps eliminate any differences in opinion regarding the deficiency or who is responsible for the deficiency.

Toolbox meeting held by the contractor's safety engineer:

This meeting is held bi-monthly and requires mandatory attendance by all contractor field employees, attendance by NYCT field engineers is optional. The NYCT program safety manager attends this meeting; however, he is only there to ensure that the contractor is covering the proper topics. The NYCT program safety manager has minimal participation in the meeting.

Toolbox meeting held by the program safety manager:

This meeting is held bi-monthly and is attended by the contractor's field employees and NYCT's field engineers.  The topics covered during this meeting may include the current status of the project or any issues that need to be discussed.

Monthly job site inspection:

One week prior to the monthly safety meeting (see below) there is a monthly safety inspection attended by the contractor's safety engineer, a representative from the project's OCIP insurance broker and the program safety manager. This inspection identifies any topics that need to be addressed at the monthly safety meeting, such as upcoming major construction phases.

Monthly safety meetings:

The monthly safety meeting is attended by the program manager, the program safety manager, the contractor's safety engineers, and NYCT field engineers, representative from MTA risk management, and MTA and FTA oversight consultants. This meeting reviews outstanding safety deficiencies, reviews issues from the previous monthly meeting and how they have been resolved, and includes a roundtable discussion regarding current deficiencies on the job site.

Quarterly incentive program:

This incentive program is carried out through a quarterly awards and recognition luncheon. All contractor field personnel and NYCT field engineers are invited and rewards are given out based on the least amount of time lost on the job due to accidents. The program safety manager has found that this luncheon is well attended and is looked upon positively, particularly by the field personnel.

Safety training sessions:

The program safety manager provides training to the field engineers in anticipation of changing site conditions. Topics come from suggestions made by the field engineers or the NYCT program safety manager is he feels the field engineers need more information on a certain issue.

NYCT risk management construction site safety checklist (preliminary stage):

Once a week, the program safety manager inspects the job using a checklist that is broken down into major construction elements. This checklist is completed in addition to the rolling safety point system deficiency matrix and is currently being used primarily as a tool for the program safety manager to familiarize himself with the contractors, specific materials and equipment.

Monthly safety report:

This is a comprehensive report prepared by the program safety manager containing recorded deficiencies, injuries from the C-2 forms completed during the month (this is an injury form completed by the contractor), the program safety manager's findings of the inspection related to the C-2 form, the rolling point system deficiency matrix (supplemented with a graph summarizing assessed points and active points), and the Risk Management Construction Site Safety Checklist. This report is issued to the program manager, the construction managers and the insurance brokerage firm.

Quarterly quality and safety oversight:

Every quarter there is oversight performed on the 63rd Street Connection by the NYCT QA staff. Along with review of the program's quality plan, there is also a review of the program's safety documentation. This is accomplished through a checklist (Attachment No. 3) created to assess compliance with contract specifications. Presently, there is no correlation to the rolling safety points system deficiency matrix used by the program safety manager. This is just one more element that the 63rd Street Connection project has implemented to ensure they have a complete safety program.

3. Applicability

Because of the structure of this program, the program safety manager is not looked at as a "policeman" from whom the NYCT field engineers and contractor's engineers hide. He is seen as a team member and a mentor that is there to help in any way he can. In turn, the NYCT field engineers act as the safety program manager's "eyes and ears" and inform him of any safety deficiencies that may need immediate attention. With these two elements working together, the safety deficiencies are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner, making everyone an equally important player in achieving a common goal.

4. References