King County Metro plans to spend a few million dollars to improve bus-base lighting state L&I officials say is too dim for worker safety.
King County Metro Transit faces a May 22 deadline to improve the lighting in a bus parking area that the state considers too dim to be safe.
The order appears in a citation by the state Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), issued in April for the East Base, where 139 people work northeast of downtown Bellevue.
Metro says it will present a plan by the deadline date, to make both immediate and long-term improvements. Preliminary estimates are $1 million to $2 million each for the East Base and the South Base in Tukwila.
L&I’s inspection was triggered by a complaint.
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The state notice said East Base failed to meet requirements of 3 foot-candles average brightness, and for all areas to exceed 1.5 foot-candles — the luminosity of 1.5 candles 1 foot away.
Transit operators face risks because “inadequate lighting can result in accidents and injuries to the employees walking in the yard,” the notice says. There was no fine assessed.
Often, dark areas appear in the shadows between buses, said Metro spokesman Scott Gutierrez.
“Safety is our top priority, and Metro is working with L&I on a plan to improve the lighting at East Base, he said. Metro will examine lighting at all seven of its bases, which house a fleet of 1,928 passenger vehicles.
Lighting retrofits will be funded from Metro facilities budgets, without raising taxes or cutting service, he said.
Metro sought L&I advice for South Base in 2013, and since then has required all employees there to wear reflective vests and use flashlights at night, while adding LED lights, said Gutierrez.