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The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) yesterday announced the winners of its 2020 Safety Awards to recognize RAC members for their contributions to rail safety.
Issued annually, the awards are chosen from member submissions.
"Canada's railways are among the safest in North America and these awards reflect their ongoing commitment to employee safety and that of all Canadians," said RAC President and Chief Executive Officer Marc Brazeau in a press release.
This year's winners are:• CN, for its winter readiness initiative to help improve safety at customer facilities. The program helps educate shippers in an effort to reduce the number of reportable safety incidents at the customer site and keep both CN and customer employees safer when working around the rail.• Canadian Pacific, for its electromagnetic field-based wheel inspection systems, which detects wheels that have subsurface conditions that could lead to a broken wheel. The detector is a first in North America, with practical operational implementation capacity. The detector uses an array of 30 sensors embedded into the head of the rail. The innovation required significant sensor and rail design work to produce a system that could be deployed safely on a main line and operate in harsh Canadian environments. The technology has since advanced, and CP is now attaching electromagnetic sensors to rolling stock to inspect railheads for similar conditions.• Cando Rail Services, for its SwitchSmart initiative, an employee-driven campaign to foster safe switching practices. SwitchSmart's core elements are communicate and confirm, clearly and consistently. Eight requirements have been established to ensure those elements are followed. Five ambassadors representing different industries were trained and then assigned specific locations where they would promote and deliver the SwitchSmart messaging, which included a video featuring various employees and locations. It was intended that through interactive delivery and dynamic dialogue they would create a peer-to-peer atmosphere for all employees to incorporate SwitchSmart into their work habits and the Cando safety culture.• Southern Railway of British Columbia, for the creation of a close-call incident reporting program that is administered by employees. The program's purpose is to identify and address non-reportable incidents that can be indicators of other weaknesses and gaps.• Metrolinx, for its COVID-19 Incident Command Team (ICT), which first convened in early January before there were any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada. the ICT's role is to provide a phased approach to managing the mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and restoration of normal service; before, during and post pandemic.• VIA Rail Canada Inc., for its manual handling program throughout the mechanical services department, which seeks to correct improper ergonomic practices, prevent injuries and provide leading indicators aiming to shift the safety culture to one of prevention.