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September 22, 2017

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TRA to investigate circumstances of accident that killed two workers

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) yesterday announced that the cause of the death of two workers remained unconfirmed but their families will receive at least NT$12 million in compensation.

Two TRA workers were hit by a running Tze-Chiang Limited Express near Longjing station on Monday while conducting scheduled maintenance work on the track.

According to the investigation by the Railway Safety and Investigation Committee, the two workers signed up to do maintenance work on the track, which would not affect running trains, and they started to work at 9:18 a.m.

When the Tze-Chiang Limited Express No. 112 passed by Longjing station two minutes later than its scheduled time, the Railway Safety and Investigation Committee said, the driver saw the two workers squatting on the track when the train was only 100 meters away from them.

Even though the train driver hit the break immediately, the Railway Safety and Investigation Committee said that the driver could not stop the train and they two workers were killed by the running train at 9:33 a.m.

According to the police, victim Ho Zhu-cong (何諸聰), 65 years old, was about to retire on Oct. 14, while fellow worker Huang Ming-xing (黃閔星), 40, worked as a technician for the TRA for almost seven years.

TRA Undersecretary Lu Jie-shen (鹿潔身) said that when workers conduct maintenance jobs on the tracks, one of them should keep an eye out for incoming trains.

"However, both of them were conducting maintenance work when the train approached," said Lu. "The TRA's assumption was that maybe they saw an emergency issue that needed to be fixed immediately, which brought both of them to focus on their jobs at the same time."

According to Lu, based on the standard operating procedure, the deputy station master in charge should contact the driver of the train that approaches the train station though two-way radio, so the message can be heard by maintenance workers through their two-way radio as well.

The TRA said that the families of the two workers who died can receive compensation ranging from NT$12 million and NT$15 million.

Lu said that the TRA has issued a new policy that maintenance workers can only do inspection work instead of maintenance work during daytime, and workers will spend about five hours doing maintenance work on each section of track during nighttime.

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