Two Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) maintenance workers were killed and one was injured yesterday morning after being hit by a power maintenance train at Haiduan Station in Taitung County.
The casualties were a 48-year-old man surnamed Pan (潘) and a 55-year-old man surnamed Liu (劉), both of whom worked at the railway maintenance division in Chihshang Township (池上). Another worker surnamed Wang (王), 36, was injured and treated at the Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taitung.
The incident happened at 8:35am, when a power maintenance train — which left Yuli Township (玉里) and was traveling south to Taitung Station — hit two maintenance workers at a railway switch at Haiduan Station, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said.
The two workers had applied to extend their work hours from about 7am to 5pm yesterday, which had been approved by Guanshan Station’s deputy station master, the board said, adding that it was not clear if the information was transmitted to the traffic control center in Taipei.
The board would investigate all the details once it officially opens a probe into the incident, the board said.
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) told ministry officials that the TRA should comply with investigations by the board and the Southern Occupation Safety and Health Center.
Acting TRA Director-General Chi Wen-chung (祁文中) was ordered to form a task force to examine the railway agency’s maintenance work procedures to improve worker safety.
The agency should help the relatives of the victims make funeral arrangements and seek compensation, Lin added.
The Society of Railway and National Planning said that the agency has lost 10 maintenance workers in the past 20 years.
“If the ministry and Railway Bureau are unwilling to confront the agency’s culture and simply stipulate more regulations and bury themselves in the paperwork, there is no guarantee that there will not be another broken family,” it said.
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