Each railroad conducts an internal review of its team-focused safety accomplishments and selects the safety team it wishes to recognize for exemplary safety teamwork and collaboration in the forum. In addition to team recognition, the AAR hosts a benchmarking session where all teams are invited to share their success stories and learn from their peers throughout the industry.
One of nine railroads recognized, Metra's Safety and Interactive Management (SIM) team from Elgin, Ill., was credited with making Metra a safer system for employees and passengers.
This is the second consecutive year that Metra has been recognized for team safety achievement. In 2013, Metra's 47th Street Diesel Shop team was honored.
One of the accomplishments the team was recognized for was identifying the need for a safer walking surface other than ballast at the Elgin Yard, particularly during winter months. The ballast surface provided a hazard for carmen performing inspections. After working with the engineering department, the team decided that using a metal grate-style walkway system affixed to the ties provided the best option. As a result, more than 2,000 feet of metal walkway was installed before winter. Not only has the new system reduced exposure to injuries, it has proven to have an added benefit of allowing snow to fall through the grates, eliminating the need for crews to clear the snow for comfortable walking. Because of the safety benefits of this new walkway, Metra is planning on expanding its use as future walkways need replacement.
"The Elgin team is to be commended for their professionalism and ability to build good working relationships with employees of other crafts and departments who are needed to correct or repair potential safety hazards," said Hilary Konczal, Metra's safety director.
"Safe practices at worksites lead to safe equipment, facilities and right-of-way, which in turn produce service that is safe as well as reliable," said Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno. "All our employees are to be congratulated for their commitment to safety in making Metra one of the safest commuter railroads in the nation."