BY PETE DONOHUE
Monique Brathwaite, 36, a single mother, took a job working on NYC’s dangerous subway tracks to better provide for her four boys. Now, she’s lying in a hospital bed in Harlem with severe burns. Surgeons had to amputate one arm below the elbow. Brathwaite, 35, was horribly unlucky. She tripped and fell onto the electrified third rail, which carries 600 volts of electricity. But you could also say she was fortunate. She very easily could have died. Transit workers are killed on the job regularly.
NYC Transit doesn’t suspend subway service for many of the inspection and regular repair jobs transit workers carry out every day and night. Workers have to dodge trains and keep clear of the electrified - and always present - third rail. Subway conductors, bus operators, station cleaners and other transit workers also are often targets for the criminals and lunatics out there who have equal access to the bus and subway system as the rest of us. At least 234 transit workers were killed or fatally injured on the job since 1946, many of them were struck by trains while doing maintenance or construction projects. Twelve transit workers were killed on the job over the last 15 years:
*Samuel McPhaul was electrocuted by the third rail near Grand Central Station in Manhattan in July 2001.
* Christopher Bonaparte was killed by an A train at the Liberty Ave. station in East New York, Brooklyn, in April 2002.
* Joy Anthony was killed by a No. 3 train near the 96th St.-Broadway station in Manhattan in November 2002.
* Kurien Baby was killed by an E train near the Canal Street station in Manhattan in November 2002.
* Conductor Janell Bennerson was killed when her head slammed into an ill-placed fence post at the end of the Aqueduct/N. Conduit Ave. station in Ozone Park, Queens, in January 2003.