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Safety training: KCS to lean more heavily on operational tests, less on written exams


Kansas City Southern recently changed its operational testing procedures to improve safety.
In the past, the railroad gave employees written exams biannually and had trainmasters, assistant trainmasters and managers conduct operating-practice tests slightly more often.
Now, KCS will provide written exams annually and focus on providing more targeted, more frequent operational tests to help prevent injuries and meet the railroad's goal of reducing derailments 50 percent.
"Increased operational testing is not intended to discipline employees, rather to reinforce consistent rules compliance," said Jerry Heavin, KCS senior vice president of operations, in a prepared statement. "Our primary goal is for employees to work safely at all times — we can only do this by training, coaching and testing to ensure that employees understand and can easily translate the rules from the book to daily practice."
In 2002, KCS had 531 Federal Railroad Administration-reportable train accidents, compared with 544 in 2001. However, personal injuries increased year over year.
"We all must focus on safe working processes if we are to get back on track toward our safety vision of becoming the safest railway in North America," said Heavin.

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More News from 1/8/2003