Home Subway Security Suit says Transit unprepared for mass evacuation

Suit says Transit unprepared for mass evacuation

by Benjamin Kabak

In a 59-page whistle-blower lawsuit fired on Tuesday in federal court, a 25-year MTA employee alleges that the authority is not prepared for a mass evacuation and is violating safety standards. The Post, which first reported on the suit, summarizes Peter Nichik’s complaint:

He alleges that “anti-crime” gates — which make it possible to close off alternate entrances and exits to subway stations during certain times of the day — are not being padlocked while open meaning anyone can shut and lock them up with their own equipment.

“These conditions present a significant danger to the riding public and [MTA] employees in the event of a situation requiring rapid evacuation or emergency response and rescue,” said his lawyer, Clare Norins. “The defects continue to exist unabated in many NYC subway stations.”

..Nichik, a former superintendent in the Division of Station Operations, first brought the security break to the MTA’s attention in August 2007, when he warned his bosses that the gates weren’t secure for the usually rambunctious West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn. That meant someone could enter the station, close the gates, and lock them, creating “a very dangerous and potentially lethal event in an emergency situation,” like an explosion, bomb threat, or chemical or biological attack, the suit claims. He also claims the MTA provided him with too few chains and padlocks for the gates, and when transit bosses took a survey of how many were unsecured, “the actual safety conditions in the field were being underreported in the survey.”

In his suit, which I’ve embedded after the jump, Nichik claims his constant complaints about security also lead to “a hostile work environment.” He has requested that court order the MTA to both address these security concerns and refrain from taking action against him.

For its part, the MTA denied the allegations in the complaint and said that any security deficiencies have been addressed. “We have had a procedure in place since 2008 to survey all station entrances to make certain that 24-hour security gates are padlocked in the open position,” Transit spokesman Kevin Ortiz said. “As a result, we secured all entrances with new padlocks and chains and began a regular inspection cycle to insure compliance.”

The authority also said in a statement that the “there is no merit whatsoever to this individual’s claim that he has been retaliated against as a result of having raised safety-related concerns.”

After the jump, read the complaint in full.

Nichik v. NYC Transit Complaint

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1 comment

Namer November 18, 2010 - 2:16 pm

Suit says Transit unprepared for mass evacuation

Uh, no shit?


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