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To be safer, push for personal accountability, says KCS safety leader

At the end of each year, Kansas City Southern requires supervisors and craft safety leaders to draft safety action plans detailing ways they can prevent injuries and accidents the following year.

Items cited in this year's action plans include better work-practice audits and operations testing, rules and health training, communication, accident and injury reporting and review, recognition and emergency planning.

But KCS Safety Leader Shell Harmon took a more accountable stance.

"I don't start each day with aspirations of becoming the safest employee in North America, nor of working a year injury free or even a hundred days for that matter," he wrote in his plan, according to a prepared statement. "I do, however, ensure that every task I undertake, regardless of how mundane or complicated, be accomplished safely by evaluating the situation, minimizing any associated risks and visualizing all scenarios in which something could go wrong."

Harmon plans to demand 100 percent rules compliance from himself and his employees, and challenge other workers to do the same.

"Each subsequent day will be handled in the same manner," he wrote. "By using this approach, I will continue to be one of the safest employees in North America."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/11/2002