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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has recognized Jose Jimenez of The Belt Railway Co. of Chicago (BRC) and Travis Herod of Watco Cos. LLC for their efforts to improve rail safety.
Jimenez, a machinist, has been named the association's 2020 Safety Person of the Year. The award recognizes a non-management employee who exhibits knowledge and practice of safety procedures within his or her company, with no reported self injuries, and contributes off-duty time to safety procedures and awareness in their own communities.
In May 2019, BRC experienced its second reportable injury of the year. An analysis of the causal factors behind the injuries and the group's processes and procedures came from Jimenez, a 24-year veteran of the railroad's mechanical department. He identified that the lack of standard processes within the department's common tasks exposed risks that had been overlooked. Standard tasks of a shop were reviewed, which directly influenced the approach that his shop took to reduce risk in the workplace.
Jimenez took the lead in producing new and improved safety procedures with in his workplace. BRC has seen no additional injuries since the safety improvement project was initiated, ASLRRA officials said in a press release.
Meanwhile, ASLRRA named Herod the 2020 Safety Professional of the Year. The award recognizes an individual who demonstrates excellence via their communication and leadership skills in the interest of safety, is selfless in his or her actions, and consistently documents safety achievements as a team leader.
Herod is Watco's senior vice president of environmental, health and safety. Throughout his 20-year career, Herod has been a driving force behind Watco's safety programs and training courses, including leading the company's new shift in safety philosophy, Watco's Safety Management System. The program has led to a more proactive approach in prevention incidents and accidents, while also creating higher levels of engagement Watco team members.
According to the company, the results from the program in 2019 were profound, finishing the year with record low safety metrics, and 2020 is trending even better, headed for a second record-breaking year in a row, ASLRRA officials said.
"Our short-line members value safety above all else, staying focused on keeping everybody on an and around the railroad safe, despite multiple competing priorities," said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. "The 2020 award winners have prioritized safety day in and day out throughout their careers, on their own railroads and in their communities. We are honored to recognize their dedication to bringing each employee home safely every night, and grateful for their contributions to the freight-rail industry."