Technical Program Specialist - Accident Investigations

Location: Washington, DC
Date Posted: 06-26-2018
Technical Program Specialist - Accident Investigations

MSC Background

The Metrorail Safety Commission (MSC) is the designated State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA) responsible for overseeing the safety of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Metrorail system, which operates rail transit in State of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The MSC is responsible for implementing an effective oversight program in compliance with the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 674, and other applicable regulations. MSC duties span a wide range of daily, periodic, annual, and triennial oversight activities. The MSC is responsible for conducting a robust complement of observations, event investigations, inspections, special studies, and audits at WMATA, all with a focus on maintaining and enhancing the safety of customers, employees, infrastructure, and assets. The MSC will promulgate safety standards and requirements for the Metrorail System, and has the authority to take swift and decisive action to address non-compliance or any hazardous conditions.
Position Overview

The MSC is recruiting for an Technical Program Specialist - Accident Investigations to lead, conduct, and represent the MSC n in investigations concerning accident, incident and hazards at involving the WMATA Metrorail system. This recruitment is open to anyone who meets the required qualifications listed below. The selected candidate will serve under the leadership of the MSC Chief Executive Officer.
The selected candidate will ensure a commitment to effective safety oversight program administration through direct leadership, role modeling, establishing working relationships with WMATA personnel, coordinating with a team of skilled and qualified auditors, and applying technical expertise to promote rail transit safety. Furthermore, the incumbent must have sufficient knowledge of industry best practices and benchmarks to effectively and collaborative monitor and evaluate the changes recommended or underway at the WMATA Metrorail system, and to develop recommendations for continued safety improvement.
Responsibilities and Duties
The Technical Program Specialist - Accident Investigations is responsible for:
  • Planning and carrying out an itinerary of periodic field reviews and inspections of Metrorail System to ensure that they are properly installed, operated, tested, and maintained.
  • Conducting independent audits of WMATA infrastructure and operations.
  • Verifying and ensuring WMATA’s compliance with its own maintenance and inspection policies and procedures, MSC requirements, and industry best practices.
  • Investigating allegations of hazardous conditions or non-compliance from WMATA employees, government officials, and the general public regarding unsafe conditions (e.g. arcing insulators, smoke and fire events, power surges or failures).
  • Participating in investigations of Metrorail events and development of independent MSC investigation reports.
  • Developing audit and inspection reports that communicate technical information to a wide audience.
  • Reviewing WMATA Metrorail event (accidents, incidents, and occurrences as defined by 49 CFR 674) investigation reports from a technical standpoint.
  • Reviewing, interpreting, and conducting trend analysis of Metrorail maintenance-related information.
  • Coordinating with multiple WMATA departments to schedule routine activities and special audits.
  • Advising the MSC Board and Executive Director on technical matters pursuant to accident related activity.
A minimum of 10 years of experience in accident investigations in either railroad, rail systems or closely related transportation sector such as aviation is required.
Knowledge and familiarity of applicable Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations, and NTSB procedures is required, including industry best practices such as those coordinated by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and American Railway Engineering and Maintenance-of-Way Association (AREMA).
Prior experience with a rail transit, SSOA, or with Safety Management Systems (SMS) is strongly preferred.
A Bachelor’s degree in engineering or a related technical specialization is required.
Residency Requirement
Given the frequency of site visits to the WMATA Metrorail system by MSC personnel, including the need to respond quickly to an event scene, the incumbent for this position must live within 20 miles of any Metrorail station.
Physical Requirements
MSC inspection, audit, and investigation work requires the person in this position to possess the ability to move for long periods on potentially rocky and uneven surfaces along railroad right-of-way, rail yards, and maintenance facilities on an occasional basis. The work requires the ability to position oneself to take measurements; ascend/descend ladders, narrow staircases, and rail and maintenance vehicles. Successful applicants must be able to detect and observe sufficiently to perform core inspection functions of the discipline and remain safe along the Metrorail System.
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
Work may take place at any time of day as warranted by emergency conditions or scheduled inspections (e.g. responding to a Metrorail event or conducting observations of overnight maintenance work). Work may take place on or about WMATA property where MSC personnel must be alert at all times for: the approach of trains or rolling equipment; slips/trips/fall hazards; and hazardous materials. While on-site, MSC personnel must also take precautions with electrical hazards associated with revenue and non-revenue vehicles and equipment, the third rail, and other traction power equipment throughout the Metrorail System. The inspector may be exposed to unfavorable weather conditions, including temperature extremes and precipitation, and other environmental discomforts such as insects and vegetation on or about rail property.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) will be required for specific job functions. All MSC personnel will comply with WMATA requirements for PPE as applicable to the circumstances, as well as with applicable industry standards.
All MSC staff positions require possession of a valid driver’s license in order to travel to meetings, inspection locations, or event scenes as necessitated.
The Accident Investigations Specialist is required to obtain and maintain the Transit Safety and Security Program (TSSP) Certificate and complete the Safety Management System Training component required by the FTA’s Safety Certification Training Program final interim provisions. Other industry-recognized transportation safety certifications are desirable.
Additional certifications from AREMA, American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), World Safety Organization (WSO), or National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are strongly preferred.
The ideal candidate will possess the abilities and skills to:
  • Document the facts, circumstances, conditions, and precursors of accidents, incidents, and occurrences on the Metrorail system; determine the cause of such events; and, formulate corrective actions, lessons learned, and prevention strategies
  • Communicate and interpret a comprehensive knowledge of construction, testing, inspection, and repair of all Metrorail systems.
  • Understand and detect deviations from:
    • Daily safety inspection and maintenance standards accepted in the industry;
    • WMATA Metrorail safety standards.
  • Convey safety significance and technical knowledge to a wide audience of internal and external policymakers and senior managers.
  • Convey specialized knowledge of proper remedial action to be taken in order to bring defective related issues into compliance with applicable WMATA, MSC, or other standards.
  • Conduct hazard assessments, root cause and fault tree analyses.

The MSC is located at 777 North Capitol ST NE, #402, Washington, DC 20002 and is responsible for conducting SSOA activities for the WMATA Metrorail System across the D.C. metro region. 

Salary is regionally competitive and will be commensurate with skills and experience.  

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