Lost in Translation: Safety Communication in the Rail Industry

September, 2021 – The Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) conducts Safety Culture Assessments on short line railroads, and also conducts an annual Systematic Review of the assessed railroads to measure industry trends and identify opportunities for improvement in safety culture. Results of the 2020 Systematic Review suggest that both the quality and quantity of railroad safety communication can be improved. In response to these findings, SLSI launched a Safety Poster Program which provides interested railroads with safety posters on a quarterly basis free of charge. SLSI also aims to assist railroads with other aspects of their safety communication quality and quantity, such as possible barriers to effective communication. Thus, the goals of this paper is to highlight potential obstacles associated with safety communication, provide tips on how to overcome the obstacles, and educate the industry on the importance of clear and frequent safety communication.

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