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3/26/2003



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BNSF pilots program targeting human element in incidents, injuries


In its Southern California Division, Burlington Northern Santa Fe is piloting a program designed to prevent incidents and injuries caused by "human factors," such as a momentary attention lapse.


Based on a 30-year-old program developed for the airline industry, Crew Resource Management (CRM) aims to raise employees' on-the-job situational awareness.


During the pilot rolled out in February, transportation employees are learning CRM's basic principles, discussing local railroad culture, and gaining an understanding of real-life scenarios, roles and responsibilities, situational awareness, fatigue, communication and teamwork.


Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and United Transportation Union safety coordinators help facilitate the day-long, cross-functional classes, which BNSF plans to continue conducting over the next several weeks for train, yard and engine employees in San Bernardino and Los Angeles.


"It's tough for someone to come to work and admit 'I'm just not 100 percent today,'" said Bob Repola, BNSF general director of operations, Overland Park, Kan., in a prepared statement. "CRM is a process designed to break down those barriers, and to create a culture where it's okay to look out for and support each other."


In the future, BNSF might expand CRM training to include the division's dispatchers, mechanical, and engineering employees, as well as roll out the program to other divisions.












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