B&T Reporting of Employee Accidents to the MTA Board

MTA/OIG #2015-24

The Safety and Health Department (Safety) of MTA Bridges and Tunnels (B&T) reports safety statistics to the MTA Board (the Board). These statistics include job-related injuries and job-related illnesses, some of which result in lost work time. According to the data reported to the Board by B&T in February 2015, the number of accident reports filed by B&T employees had increased 26 percent from 270 in calendar year 2013 to 341 in 2014.

The figures, however, overstate the frequency of accidents. OIG found that Safety adds a category in its tallies that it characterizes as “recurrences.” Recurrences, however, is broadly defined by Safety. OIG learned that Bridges and Tunnels counts notifications and other interactions with employees as “recurrences,” a term normally used in the industry to describe an actual subsequent Injury to the same body part affected in a previous incident and since healed. Safety’s categorization of a notification as a “recurrence” has the effect of unintentionally inflating the number of reported accidents in Board reports. Accordingly, OIG recommended that the B&T Safety and Health Department develop a consistent definition of a “Recurrence” that more closely aligns with the industry standard.