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Nov 14, 4:22 PM EST

The Latest: Amtrak says safety improving after fatal crash


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Latest on the National Transportation Safety Board's ruling that safety lapses led to a crash that killed two Amtrak maintenance workers near Philadelphia (all times local):

4 p.m.

Amtrak says it has taken steps to improve its safety culture since two maintenance workers were killed by a train last year near Philadelphia.

The National Transportation Safety Board sharply criticized Amtrak's approach to safety at a meeting Tuesday on the investigation into the April 2016 crash.

Afterward, Amtrak co-chief executive officers Richard Anderson and Charles "Wick" Moorman sent a letter to employees updating them on what the passenger railroad has done.

That includes hiring a new head of safety, compliance and training, issuing alerts and advisories to remind workers of rules and improving a worker protection training program.

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12:30 p.m.

Federal investigators say they've found major lapses in Amtrak's safety culture, including more than two dozen unsafe conditions at a work zone where a train slammed into a maintenance backhoe last year near Philadelphia, killing two workers.

The National Transportation Safety Board ruled Tuesday that those conditions were the probable cause of the April 2016 crash that killed backhoe operator Joseph Carter Jr. and supervisor Peter Adamovich.

Chief among them, investigators said, were a foreman's failure to make sure dispatchers were still rerouting trains from the area under repair and the crew's failure to use a device that blocks access to those tracks.

The NTSB used a public hearing on the crash to examine safety practices at the government-owned railroad. NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said Amtrak's approach seemed to encourage workarounds by workers "to get the job done."

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6 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board is set to review the findings of an investigation into what caused a speeding Amtrak train to slam into a backhoe last year near Philadelphia, killing two maintenance workers.

The board is meeting Tuesday in Washington to determine a probable cause of the April 3, 2016 crash that killed backhoe operator Joseph Carter Jr. and supervisor Peter Adamovich.

Investigators say they've found evidence of a lax safety culture, poor communication and employee drug use at the government-owned railroad.

Investigators say the maintenance crew failed to follow safety procedures and that Amtrak management shouldn't have let work continue without detailing potential hazards.

Toxicology reports show Carter, Adamovich and the train's engineer all had drugs in their system, but a union says that didn't play a factor.

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