The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has published several new online resources designed to address identified opportunities for improving safety culture on short line railroads.
“The SLSI is pleased to work alongside railroads to identify opportunity areas and to create resources, tools and programs that support elevating safety culture improvements over time,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director of the SLSI. “Based on areas of opportunity identified from a thorough results analysis of the 97 Safety Culture Assessments completed to date, SLSI experts have developed new resources to assist short line railroads in improving specific elements of a strong safety culture. I encourage short line railroads to take advantage of three exciting new offerings – the Safety Communication Poster Program, the “Lost in Translation” paper, and the HazMat Minute and Safety Minute video series, now available in easily accessible formats designed to meet the needs of our industry.”
Recently, the Federal Railroad Administration’s Office of Research, Development and Technology released the results of SLSI’s 2020 Systematic Review of Safety Culture Assessments conducted on short line railroads. One of the identified opportunities to improve safety culture on short line railroads is Safety Communication: Quality and Quantity. In response to this finding, the SLSI has developed the Safety Communication Poster Program, providing downloadable posters in both English and in Spanish. The first poster series, titled Communicating Safety, has been made available online, with the ability to add a company logo, and print on a standard office printer. SLSI plans to continue to add new posters several times throughout the year.
Another helpful resource is a paper, Lost in Translation: Safety Communication in the Rail Industry, highlighting potential obstacles, providing tips on how to overcome the obstacles, and stressing the importance of clear and frequent safety communication.
Analyses of completed Safety Culture Assessments over the past five years have consistently identified Hazardous Materials Exercises/Training as an opportunity area. To address this need, the SLSI has created the HazMat Minute video series. This series supplements Hazardous Materials training provided on short line railroads via short videos addressing specific regulations, including the Emergency Response Guidebook, Placard Essentials, Position-in-Train Documentation and more. These videos can be used for individual training opportunities, or during safety briefings and can be used in tandem with a Safety Tip on the same subject.
Similarly, the Safety Minute video series was created to assist railroads in mitigating risks commonly found on railroads. The subjects selected mirror the Safety Tips presented monthly. Launched in 2017, the Safety Tip program was created in response to an industry request for materials to provide at Safety Briefings. The Safety Minute video offering covers topics including: Perception vs. Reality in Communication, Preventing Slips and Falls, and Protection Where Tracks Are Fouled. The videos can be used separately, or in tandem with the downloadable Safety Tip of the same topic.
The SLSI also conducts Safety Culture Assessments, cited by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the most robust model for assessing safety culture in the U.S. railroad industry, at no cost to short line railroads.
SLSI’s Hazardous Materials Programs and resources are provided at no cost to railroads with the support of a grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Current programs include Hazardous Materials Training, Safety Tips, Video Training, HazMat Guides and the Transportation Emergency Response Plan (“TERP”). In addition, the SLSI offers railroads support in addressing specific challenges with the Emergency Preparedness Reporting and Response Exercise.