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Rail News: Safety

Safety: Alaska Railroad continues to reduce injuries despite burgeoning business


In 2003, Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) had a banner year in safety performance, recording its lowest-ever injury rate at 3.64 (injuries per 200,000 manhours) — a 70 percent decrease compared with 1997 figures.

ARRC also reduced derailments 20 percent compared with 2002 data and recorded the lowest-ever number of workdays lost due to injury.

Last month, the regional's performance earned an E. H. Harriman Memorial Award certificate of commendation for continuous safety improvement from the Association of American Railroads.

ARRC is off to an even better start this year — the railroad's current injury rate is 2.84. ARRC officials are pleased the railroad is improving safety even though workers logged the highest number of manhours last year since the state of Alaska purchased the railroad in 1985 and the regional reached an all-time high 1.58 million train miles traveled in 2003.

"Both the number and severity of injuries are going down," said ARRC President and Chief Executive Officer Pat Gamble in a prepared statement. "We're aiming for continuous improvement every year — we want to be the best some day."