The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) has selected its annual Jake Award recipients, recognizing 346 member railroads for their above-industry-average safety performance in 2020; this includes 19 President’s Safety Award winners.
To be honored with a Jake Award, an ASLRRA member railroad must perform better than the Class II and III industry average reportable injury frequency rate (number of incidents per 200,000 employee on-duty hours) based on data reported to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) during the calendar year, and must have completed all FRA-required Employee-On-Duty reporting for 2020. That average industry reportable injury frequency rate for 2020 was 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours, according to ASLRRA.
Of the 346 recipients of the Jake Award—named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, President and General Manager of the Copper Basin Railway—316 will be honored “with Distinction,” recognizing their FRA reportable injury-free performance in 2020.
In addition, 19 received the President’s Award, designated for the Jake Award recipients posting the lowest reportable injury frequency rate per FRA regulations as measured within man-hour categories.
Of note this year, ASLRRA reported:
• A record number of award recipients had zero reportable accidents (316 vs. 278 in 2019).
• ASLRRA railroad members outpaced industry-wide safety improvements (10% vs. 8%).
• The gap between the incident reporting rate of ASLRRA members and the overall FRA reporting rate is narrowing rapidly. In 2019, the gap was 0.32, and in 2019, the gap was 0.26—a 19% improvement.
The awards will be presented at the 2021 ASLRRA Regional Meetings, to be held in June.
“Safety is the No. 1 priority on every railroad,” ASLRRA President Chuck Baker said. “Our member railroads are focused not only on compliance, but also on creating a strong safety culture where each employee feels accountable for safety, day in and day out. This year, ASLRRA member railroads reduced their injury rate by 10%, significantly outpacing the overall industry decline of 8% in an impressive year for railroad safety. That includes a record 316 ASLRRA member railroads receiving Jake with Distinction Awards reflecting zero employee-on-duty accidents on their railroads in 2020. This is a testament to each member’s focus on operating safely in spite of a disrupted and uncertain supply chain during the pandemic; investment in maintenance and new technology; and to the Short Line Safety Institute, which has provided significant leadership in the area of safety culture to short line railroads.”