ASLRRA Names Five Industry Experts as Assessors for Short Line Safety Institute

Assessors to aid in Short Line industry’s pro-active approach to safety culture

WASHINGTON, DC – American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) Chairman, Ed McKechnie announced today the selection of five industry safety experts retained as assessors for a pilot project as the first step toward the longer-range goal of developing a comprehensive industry-wide safety culture assessment program that will serve as the core of the Short Line Safety Institute. The Association has adopted the DOT statement that has identified safety culture as a top priority for the short line and regional railroad industry. Safety culture is defined as the shared values, actions, and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to safety over competing goals and demands.

The Safety Institute is the direct result of a proposal the ASLRRA presented to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in January 2014 as a step toward improving the safety culture for short lines transporting crude oil shipments by rail and eventually for all short line and regional railroads.

The team of assessors includes Wayne Hamm (36+ years rail safety and operating experience, Pat Black (30+ years rail safety and operating experience), Annie Richardson (20+ years safety assessment and related experience), Shannon Adamson (14+ years rail and assessment experience) and Sam Cotton (17 years rail safety and operating experience).

During the first six months of the pilot project the teams will be tasked with visiting six railroads that transport crude oil to assess whether the leadership of the assessed railroad is committed to safety, whether the organization practices continuous learning concerning safety, whether its decisions demonstrate that safety is prioritized over competing demands, whether there is a safety conscious work environment, whether the employees feel personally responsible for safety, whether there is open and effective communication across the railroad, whether mutual trust is fostered between employees and the railroad, whether the railroad is fair and consistent in responding to safety concerns, and whether training and resources are available to support safety.

According to ASLRRA Chairman, Ed McKechnie, “Safety is our most important focus and the pilot project and Institute will lead the way in creating a commitment to a strong safety culture and behavioral change from the top down based on the assessments done by this group of dedicated professionals. We look forward to the results of their work.”