Technical Program Specialist: Operations

Location: Washington, DC
Date Posted: 06-27-2018
Technical Program Specialist: Operations

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 the 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: Operations to conduct inspections, audits, and investigations into the implementation of operating rules and procedures of 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: Operations is responsible for:
  • Planning and carrying out an itinerary of periodic audits and inspections related to Metrorail System operating practices to ensure safety and compliance with WMATA rules.
  • Auditing operating employee compliance with the WMATA Metrorail Safety Rules and Procedures Handbook, general orders, and special bulletins.
  • Conducting independent riding and walking inspections of the Metrorail system.
  • Collecting evidence, taking photographs, reporting-out on work completed both orally and in writing, preparing field notes and other written reports.
  • Verifying and ensuring WMATA’s compliance with its own operational 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 operational conditions (e.g. train over speed, emergency braking, and wrong-side door opening).
  • 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 operations-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 operating practices.
A minimum of 5-10 years of experience in developing and administering railroad operating rules at a rail agency, or management of rail operations, supervision, and/or control center activities, is required.
Knowledge and familiarity of applicable Federal, State, and Local laws and regulations is required, including industry best practices and standards, such as those coordinated by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
Prior experience with a rail transit, SSOAs, or with Safety Management Systems (SMS) is strongly preferred.
A Master’s Degree in engineering, transportation, public administration, safety management, or a similar technical specialization is strongly preferred.  A bachelor’s degree 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 Operating Practices 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 a Professional Engineer (PE) license are strongly preferred.
The ideal candidate will possess the abilities and skills to:
  • Understand rail operating practices, rail operating rules, duties of rail employees, and general rail nomenclature.
  • Comprehend operating practices and rules sufficient to understand the safety significance of deviations.
  • Convey safety significance and technical knowledge to a wide audience of internal and external policymakers and senior managers.
  • Provide specialized knowledge of the requirements of the operating practices rules and regulations including the remedial action required to bring rail transit operations into compliance with WMATA, MSC, or other applicable 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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