WASHINGTON – September 17, 2020 – The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) today shared its recently published study, stating that its multi-method Safety Culture Assessment (SCA) process, recognized by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Office of Research, Technology and Development (RD&T) as “the most robust assessment model in the industry”, is easily transferable from freight to commuter railroads. In addition, the report suggests that commuter operations would benefit from SLSI’s services.

“The SCA process has proven to be a powerful tool for the 90 short line railroads who have participated to date, identifying specific ways that small freight railroads can continue to improve safety culture. These railroads have leveraged other offerings from our expert staff including technical assistance to resolve a specific challenge, and follow-up SCAs to measure the extent to which identified opportunities for improvement have been addressed,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director, SLSI. “Based on the study results we are excited about the possibility of providing support to commuter operations, as a demonstrated, strong safety culture is an industry-wide mission, not limited to just freight railroads.”

An analysis of the methodology and results of an SCA conducted at a commuter railroad indicated that the process was able to produce the same robust result as an SCA on a freight railroad. The SLSI Assessor team aided the commuter operation in identifying opportunities for improvement on its properties that may lead to stronger, sustainable safety culture, practices and training, and ultimately improve safety.

More About Safety Culture Assessments (SCAs)
An SCA is a robust evaluation based on the Department of Transportation Safety Council’s Ten Core Elements for a Strong Safety Culture consisting of:

  • A visit with the railroad from an SLSI Lead Assessor to describe the program—its mission, vision, and process—to management, who agree to the SCA and designate a primary point of contact.
  • Field observations of railroad crews and interviews of employees at various levels of the organization, including senior leaders, managers, supervisors, and craft employees completed by the Assessor team.
  • An analysis of the information and scheduling of a close-out meeting with management to verbally present SCA findings and opportunities for improvement.

To request an SCA, visit www.shortlinesafety.org.