Short Line Safety Institute Unveils Interactive Training

Program highlights Ten Pillars of a Strong Safety Culture through interactive study

WASHINGTON – June 20, 2017 – The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has been taking innovatively designed presentations and interactive workshops about building a strong safety culture on the road. The SLSI educational training has been presented to over 90 participants at the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association’s 2017 CONNECTIONS Convention in Grapevine, Texas, and to attendees of the Outback Railroad Association’s annual meeting in Deadwood, South Dakota this Spring.

“This program reviewed some of the actions that may occur on a railroad that either inhibit, or promote a strong safety culture,” said Patrick Volmer, Director of Terminal Operations, Alaska Railroad. “The SLSI provided many ideas to take back to share with my safety teams to ensure that our railroad is continuing to raise the bar on safety performance.” Volmer was a participant in the safety training offered at the ASLRRA CONNECTIONS Convention in April.

At the CONNECTIONS Convention, Michele Malski, Safety Programs Manager, and Mike Long, Acting Director of the Short Line Safety Institute, moderated the day-long training for attendees. The session included a review of the Ten Core Elements of Safety Culture, a real time text-in safety awareness survey, and a hypothetical scenario that put the participants in the shoes of a Safety Culture Assessor while conducting field observations at a sample railroad site. Both strong and weak behaviors were presented, allowing the audience to identify and provide solutions and feedback. The scenario included a HazMat issue, as well as communication challenges faced by crew and management.

The audience helped lead the second half of the presentation, sharing their ideas and solutions for improvement on the weaker aspects of the scenario through the lens of the Ten Core Elements. The day wrapped up with a focus on effective communication, and role playing a mock closeout meeting, a tool used in a Safety Culture Assessment. The team gave examples of different situations and challenged participants to practice ‘Open and Effective Communication Across the Railroad’, one of the Ten Core Elements of Safety.

The Outback Railroad Association meeting hosted this program April 4-6, 2017 for its short line railroad members and Federal Railroad Administration personnel from Region 8.

“Any chance we have to focus on how to improve safety is time well-spent. The peer-participation allowed us to learn from each other, adding different perspectives and techniques to build a better outcome,” said Vanessa Knapton, Director of Sales, Harbor Rail Services Company, who participated in the Outback Railroad Association program.

SLSI conducts safety culture assessments and is an educational, training and research source for short line and regional railroads concerning safety culture and other safety initiatives.

The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) provides a variety of education programming, from in-person interactive workshops, to online webinars, to helpful tips for Safety Briefings.