SAN FRANCISCO -- Following the deaths of two BART workers, the commuter rail system’s directors Thursday permanently ended the practice of making employees on the tracks solely responsible for their own safety.

At a meeting, the directors of Bay Area Rapid Transit approved a new policy that will require train operators to slow and possibly stop before approaching areas where workers are on or near the tracks.

The change, expected to cause delays in passenger service, follows the deaths Saturday of two workers doing repairs when a train hit them at 60 mph to 70 miles per hour.

The  procedure used at the time gave the workers no warning of approaching trains and required one to act as a lookout.

The fatalities occurred on the second day of a strike, and the train was being operated by a trainee.

BART was training non-union personnel to run the trains in the event of a prolonged strike, which ended Monday.

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