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SF transit workers get raise, higher benefit costs

Lisa Leff and Justin Pritchard, Associated Press

Bay Area Rapid Transit passengers board a BART train Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013, in Oakland, Calif. A contentious, on-again, off-again Bay Area transit strike infuriated hundreds of thousands of commuters forced to wait hours for overcrowded buses and ferries and brought grave questions when two workers were killed. The labor clash now appears to be heading toward resolution, but unions now face calls to ban transit strikes, and political leaders are struggling to assure communities they won’t be economically and socially jeopardized again by union disputes. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Bay Area Rapid Transit officials have stopped a practice of making employees responsible for their own safety after two BART workers were killed Saturday in an accident at the Walnut Creek station.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost confirmed Wednesday evening that BART is suspending the practice, called simple approval, in what she called an abundance of caution until federal investigators are able to complete their inquiry into the accident.

The Contra Costa Times reported that suspension of the practice was announced in an interoffice memo Sunday (http://bit.ly/1bYBUu6).

Under BART's rules, when workers received simple approval to go onto the tracks, they were responsible for their own safety. One worker was to be designated a lookout and to warn the other of an oncoming train.

Track workers are required to obtain work orders, which she said provided more protections and usually required trains to be rerouted.