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Indiana short line proves a point with safety

To motivate workers and raise safety awareness, The Indiana Rail Road Co. (IRR) June 1 launched a safety incentive program designed to reward employees for working in a safe manner and promoting teamwork.

IRR's maintenance-of-way, mechanical, train operation, customer service, dispatch and administrative employees earn quarterly safety points individually, as a department and company wide, according to IRR's recently released summer newsletter.

The 160-mile short line awards 750 points to each "safe" worker, 750 points to each department meeting program criteria and 1,000 points railroad-wide if the company meets safety goals.

Points can be redeemed at the end of each quarter, with an employee maximum of 2,500 points. Accumulated points can be exchanged anytime for various items including outdoor clothing and camping gear, electrical appliances, electronic devices, power tools, jewelry and cameras.

"This is one more thing we're trying to do to make safety front and center in peoples' minds," says IRR President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Hoback. "You have to find new ways because people get immune to the same safety message over and over again."

The short line since the late 1990s had some safety problems tied to employees' lack of awareness, says Hoback: "We need to get people trained properly [and] figure out what happened to keep it from happening again."

IRR in late 2001 formed an accident prevention team, which spent six months evaluating safety incentive programs at other railroads and industries before forming the short line's initiative.

Jeff Stagl

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/16/2002