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BNSF, UTU unite to better avert workplace injuries


Burlington Northern Santa Fe and United Transportation Union Sept. 13 formed a collaborative effort aimed at better preventing workplace injuries.

The Class I and union plan to develop and implement new employee safety rules and policies through collective bargaining on a region-by-region basis across BNSF. The rules and policies would be designed to improve working conditions, enhance rail-service quality and create a mutually acceptable procedure for introducing new technologies.

"We've agreed to recognize first that safety, productivity and quality of life on the job are inexorably intertwined, and that staffing, training, work/rest scheduling, attendance requirements, rules and operating practices all have a bearing on safety in general, and human-factor failures specifically," said UTU International Vice President Rick Marceau in a prepared statement.

BNSF and UTU plan to concentrate on injury and accident root causes to help generate immediate and continuous improvements, said BNSF Vice President for Transportation David Dealy.

Railroad and union regional safety representatives will be responsible to ensure that new procedures are interpreted and implemented correctly and uniformly.

BNSF and UTU would organize local safety forums designed to monitor work practices and correct safety hazards more quickly than the current reporting, cataloguing and investigative process. The organizations also intend to replace the existing discipline process for non-repetitive and non-serious safety-rule violations with workplace coaching, counseling and re-training procedures.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/13/2001