MTA Metro-North Railroad has selected a healthcare company to provide medical testing and evaluation services for a 7-month pilot project focusing on obstructive sleep apnea and locomotive engineers. In November, the National Transportation Safety Board made several recommendations to Metro-North regarding the need for better sleep disorder screening of its employees after Metro-North’s deadly train derailment in the Bronx, NY, on December 1, 2013.
“Today Metro-North is taking another big step in our pursuit of best safety practices,” says railroad president Joseph Giulietti in a release. “This pilot will go a long way to ensuring safety of our customers as well as improving the overall health of our employees.”
The railroad developed the pilot in tandem with Long Island Rail Road and New York City Transit, which will be closely following its results.
All 410 Metro-North engineers and about 20 engineers in training will undergo an initial screening by the railroad’s Occupational Health Services Department based on industry best practices. Those locomotive engineers recommended for additional screening will be referred to the contractor, Persante Health Care Inc of Mount Laurel, NJ, which specializes in sleep disorders.
The vendor will provide training and test equipment for an at-home, overnight sleep test. In the morning, the engineer will use a prepaid mailer and send the test device back to the vendor. Every aspect of the pilot was designed to make participation as easy as possible for employees.
Test data will be analyzed and, if needed, employees will be referred to a sleep specialist for additional testing and/or treatment.
The contract is valued at a maximum of $200,000.