Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RailAmerica exec is ASLRRA “Safety Person of the Year”

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The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has named Robert D. Jones, vice president of RailAmerica’s West Region, as the 2008 “Safety Person of the Year.”

Jones was cited for his dedication to safety and innovative leadership, not only in his region, but also across all of RailAmerica. In 2008, all eight railroads in the West Region achieved an injury-free year. RailAmerica’s West Region comprises 250 employees and nearly 1,800 miles of track across Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.

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Jones will be recognized at the ASLRRA’s annual convention in Las Vegas, Nev., on April 27.

In addition to his work within the West Region, as head of RailAmerica’s Cross-Regional Safety Team, Jones led the company to its safest-ever year in 2008.  In 2007, Jones customized a program developed by David Sarkus and outlined in his book, “The Safety Coach: Unleash the 7Cs for World-Class Safety Performance,” to a railroad environment. Jones ingrained the 7Cs–caring, coaching, correcting, confirming, collaborating, clarifying, and conciliating–into the West Region’s safety culture, emphasizing a caring, positive approach to safety. Jones subsequently implemented the 7Cs model across all of RailAmerica’s properties. In 2008 personal injuries were reduced by 35%, and the company’s FRA frequency index (the number of injuries per 200,000 man hours) was reduced to 1.64, the best in RailAmerica’s history.

“Due to Bob’s leadership and vision, we have established an affirmative safety culture throughout RailAmerica thatemphasizes positive reinforcement and compassion for the individuals who workat our railroads,” said RailAmerica CEO John Giles. “Bob personally taught the 7Cs to RailAmerica’s five other regions, impacting more than 400 employees and demonstrating that a culture of caring can produce tremendous results.”

“I am truly honored and humbled by this award,” Jones said. “RailAmerica’s safety record is a team effort. From our senior management, which provides necessary resources and a supportive environment, to our front-line employees who never compromise on safety, everyone contributes to the strong safety culture at RailAmerica.”