Years ago, ATC management decided to buy step ladders for all of the train control rooms (TCRs). Unfortunately, they ordered them without getting measurements first so they would know what size ladder would be appropriate. As you might have already guessed, they ordered ladders that were too tall. Instead of returning them, or giving them to another dept., management then decided to instruct ATC techs to saw off the lower part of the legs of the ladders and then remove the non-skid ‘feet’ from the original legs and install them on the modified ladders.

One of the ATC techs called OSHA and tipped them off. I’m surprised that a) OSHA listened to the employee, and b) that OSHA was able to convince management not to use the modified ladders, but they did. Typically, OSHA doesn’t bother Metro and if they do, Metro ignores them. I have a letter from OSHA saying that they do not have jurisdiction over Metro (D.C., MD, VA, and federal OSHA).

Anyway, all of the ladders were collected and stored (for years) in various places around the railroad, including an auxiliary TCR at Shady Grove Yard (A99) were I worked. I’m sure many were just thrown away and others were probably taken home by employees.

Management then bought another 90 to 100 ladders of the correct height.

Making a mistake is one thing, but to compound it by attempting to modify an OSHA approved piece of equipment isn’t very bright.

This mistake was minor compared to the massive amount of fraud and waste at Metro, but it is yet another example of management thinking they know better than mfrs and regulatory agencies.

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