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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

SLSI: Study reveals themes that influence railroads' safety culture

After reviewing a year's worth of safety culture assessments at short lines and regionals, the Short Line Safety Institute (SLSI) has identified areas in need of improvement through training and education, the institute announced yesterday.

The SLSI recently reviewed the results of a study of its safety culture assessments completed during the pilot program and first year of the institute's operations. The study pointed to three measurement categories that influence a positive safety culture, as well as areas in need of improvement, SLSI officials said in a press release.

The institute will develop training, education and communication plans to address the areas identified in the study, which was conducted by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center from aggregated safety culture assessment results.

The three themes that influence the strength of a railroad's safety culture are management presence, encouraging participation and evidence of safety values. Strengths, gaps and opportunities emerged in each theme, SLSI officials said.

The analysis confirmed that short lines and regionals understand and value a strong safety culture, said SLSI Chairman Doc Claussen.

 "The results also show that there are areas where the Safety Institute can be particularly helpful, including providing systems for reporting the resolution of safety concerns, programs for coaching and mentoring, procedures for reviewing the rules, and tools to ensure the consistent communication of formal discipline practices," Claussen said.

The SLSI is a nonprofit corporation that conducts safety culture assessments and serves as an educational and research resource for short lines and regionals concerning safety issues. In 2016, the institute completed 19 assessments. This year, the institute has scheduled 22 assessments.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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