Humans Acted Alone in Shanghai Metro Collision

The subway collision which injured nearly 300 last week was attributed initially to signal failure, and then to poor execution of back-up protocols after a power outage. Now, it has been blamed squarely on human error, the power interruption itself having arisen from improper procedures during construction work at Xintiandi Station. Shanghai Daily reports that an investigative panel punished 12 Metro officials yesterday for negligence in connection with the crash:

The investigation shows that Metro dispatchers delivered the wrong orders to the second train, giving it the green light instead of telling it to stop. Dispatchers did not even check the position of the first train still parked in the tunnel, a violation of regulations.

The station’s on-duty operator accepted the order, telling the second train to go on, also without checking whether the tunnel was occupied by another train as required.

Among the 12 Metro officials held responsible for the accident, three were fired from their jobs. They were Zhu Limin, the vice director of Shentong Group’s dispatching department; and Tang Zhihua and Kuo Kang, director and vice manager, respectively, of the dispatching center for Line 10.

Shi Jin, a dispatcher of Metro Line 10, has been transferred.

The other officials, including Shentong’s president, chief executive, vice president, the on-duty operator that accepted the orders and the others, have received warnings or been demoted.

The Washington Post called out a notice on subway operating company Shanghai Shentong’s blog, titled “Bitter Experience, Deep Reflection,” [zh] which today proposed a series of steps to prevent future blunders. The directive, translated and summarized by CDT, sets forth the following 5 tasks:

1. Learn profound lessons and strengthen the sense of safety responsibility at all levels

2. Strengthen key posts and equipment safety controls

3. Strengthen driving safety and risk control measures

4. Increase the safety awareness of and training standards for employees

5. Develop teaching materials based on the accident to increase safety education among employees

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