ASLRRA honors achievements in short-line safety (4/16/2013)


The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) yesterday announced the winners of its annual safety awards, which include the Jake Awards, President's Safety Awards, Most Improved Safety Record Award, Safety Person of the Year and Safety Professional of the Year.

More than 260 regionals and short lines will receive Jake Awards with Distinction, which recognize railroads that had no Federal Railroad Administration-reportable injuries the previous year. In addition, 44 small roads will obtain Jake Awards, which honor railroads that register an injury frequency rate that's better than the Class II or III average (2.60 in 2012).

The Jake Awards are named after Lowell S. "Jake" Jacobson, Copper Basin Railway's president and chief operating officer who created the awards in 1995 and has been a longtime advocate of short-line and rail safety.

ASLRRA also named the following winners of the President's Safety Awards:

• Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad, for the most hours of injury-free operation and for maintaining the best safety rate in the 150,000-to-250,000 manhours worked category;

• Union Railroad, for maintaining the best safety rate in the 500,000 or more manhours worked category;

• Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad, for maintaining the best safety rate in the 250,000-to-500,000 manhours worked category;

• Indiana & Ohio Railway, for maintaining the best safety rate in the 50,000-to-150,000 manhours worked category; and

• Knoxville & Holston River Railroad, for maintaining the best safety rate in the less than 50,000 manhours worked category.

Meanwhile, the winner of the Most Improved Safety Record Award is the New York and Atlantic Railway. The award is based on criteria chosen by the ASLRRA Safety & Training Committee, including demonstrated improved safety over a period of at least three years, evidence of implemented programs, processes and procedures that have resulted in improved safety, and an explanation of capital devoted to safety improvement.

The association also will bestow the Safety Person of the Year Award to Susan Klinger, manager of operations for the Tomahawk Railway. The award honors an employee of a member railroad who never has had a reportable personal injury in his or her career, works with management to make safety programs effective, exhibits a high degree of safety awareness and contributes off-duty time to safety activities in the community.

Klinger performs an average of 100 efficiency tests per month at the short line to ensure employees are following Genesee & Wyoming Inc.'s safety rules. She also is involved in Operation Lifesaver's Wisconsin chapter, and last year gave 62 safety presentations to more than 10,000 people throughout Wisconsin.

In addition, ASLRRA will present the Safety Professional of the Year Award to OmniTRAX Inc. Assistant Vice President of Safety and Rules J.R. Sampson. The award recognizes a management employee of a member railroad who is responsible for safety programs and exhibits excellent communication, motivation and organizational skills; consistently produces documentable safety achievements; and is respected by peers, senior management and subordinates.

Sampson has made numerous changes to OmniTRAX's safety and training programs, helping to drive down the short-line holding company's injury rate from 6.54 in 2004 to 1.5 in 2012 and reportable derailments from 32 in 2005 to nine in 2012.

The association will hand out the awards at the ASLRRA Centennial Connections Convention, which will be held April 27-30, 2013, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News