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Rail News: Safety

FRA study: Short Line Safety Institute's assessments improved safety culture


A Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) study found the Short Line Safety Institute's Safety Culture Assessment (SCA) process and follow-up support holds promise for strengthening railroad safety culture, institute officials announced late last week.

Conducted by the FRA Office of Research, Development and Technology, the study found that over two years railroads participating in the SCA process showed improvements in six of 10 "Core Elements of a Strong Safety Culture," resulting in overall improvement in safety, institute officials said in a press release.

The study analyzed SCA initial and follow-up reports. Framed around the Core Elements, the study evaluated the results of actions taken by two subject railroads involved in the SCA process over two years. In both SCA reports, the institute identified multiple opportunities for the railroads to act on. Both roads implemented the majority of the steps identified.

Based on the results of assessments, the institute identified common opportunities for short lines to improve safety culture and developed programs to address them, such as hazardous materials transportation training and leadership development training. The institute also created a Best Practices Guide for short lines.

"Our assessment program has proven successful at identifying opportunities to improve safety culture, and specific methods to reduce risk," said Tom Murta, the institute's executive director. "Through the follow-up assessment program, railroads have shown that they can move the dial in a positive direction through the implementation of best practices identified during their initial assessment."

The institute has provided 88 assessments for short lines to date.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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