GDOT, MARTA Board Approve Updated Safety Plan
Authority Establishes New Procedures to Prevent Incidents, Better Address Issues
As an agency that moves millions of people a year by rail and road, taking steps to ensure the safety of customers, employees, contractors, and everyone on metro Atlanta streets is paramount. MARTA has renewed its commitment to systemwide safety with the development and implementation of a new, more comprehensive Agency Safety Plan (ASP), recently approved by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and MARTA Board of Directors.
As required by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), MARTA developed a new plan that takes a collaborative approach to managing safety to better control risk, quickly detect and correct safety issues, and more precisely measure safety performance.
“This safety plan is the result of every department at MARTA taking a hard look at processes and coming up with a better, more effective way to prevent incidents and swiftly address safety issues. It corrects procedural flaws in the old plan and establishes systemwide procedures that are scalable and flexible, resulting in a safer transit system,” said MARTA General Manager and CEO Jeffrey Parker.
The ASP is based upon the Safety Management Systems (SMS) principles of Safety Policy, Safety Risk Mitigation, Safety Assurance, and Safety Promotion. These pillars emphasize identifying hazards, mitigating risks, and employee involvement through reporting avenues such as MARTA’s Safety 1st Program and Safety Hotline which allow for anonymous reporting of safety hazards. It also features a new Anti-Retaliation Policy for those who report non-compliance of the ASP.
“The board took great care assessing every part of this plan during the approval process to ensure that it not only met federal safety rules but that MARTA’s voice was still evident within its pages,” said MARTA Board of Directors Chair Freda Hardage. “This is a strong, proactive plan that will reduce the likelihood of safety incidents.”
An implementation plan was developed alongside the ASP so MARTA could begin the transition to it immediately upon approval. Several actions are already underway such as a new Continuous Improvement Business Unit, establishing a Safety Hotline, and hiring a new Manager of SMS.
“We will be deliberate about the safety of our customers and employees,” said Gena Major, Assistant General Manager of the Department of Safety and Quality Assurance (DSQA). “We’ve developed an Authority-wide slogan to accompany the Agency Safety Plan, ‘Safe by Choice, Not by Chance’ and as the Chief Safety Officer here, I’m committed to choosing safety and this new plan is our roadmap.”
The groundwork for the ASP was laid in August when MARTA’s DSQA achieved the prestigious International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001:2015 certification of its Quality Management System (QMS). QMS helps coordinate and direct an organization’s activities and meet customer and regulatory requirements and improve its effectiveness and efficiency on a continuous basis. These standards serve as the foundation of the SMS which provides the principles of MARTA’s new Agency Safety Plan.