U.S. DOT: SLSI’s Safety Culture Assessment “most comprehensive”

Written by Andrew Corselli
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The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the Short Line Safety Institute’s (SLSI) program, Safety Culture Assessment (SCA), was named “the most comprehensive or robust approach in the U.S. railroad industry” in evaluating safety culture.

The SCA model was evaluated against merit criteria such as multiple methods of measurement, multiple levels of measurement, in-situ observation and safety policy review by the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, which conducted the evaluation. According to Volpe, “all key characteristics of a rigorous safety culture assessment model were not described as being utilized to assess safety culture in any of the sources reviewed, making the SLSI’s Assessment process unique and ‘exemplary for meeting the merit criteria for ‘rigor.’’”

To address opportunity areas identified in SCAs, SLSI has developed programs—all of which are provided free of charge to the short line industry—to address hazardous material movement (Hazardous Material Training Program); soft-skill training (Leadership Development Training); and safety tips for use in railroad safety briefings.

“We are pleased to be recognized for providing industry-leading programs in safety culture for railroads,” said Tom Murta, Executive Director, SLSI. “Our comprehensive, non-punitive Safety Culture Assessments have provided insight to more than 70 short line railroads to date. The rigorous methodology we use has proven objective and helpful to railroads that have participated, leading to an ever-stronger safety environment on short line railroads.”

“The methods applied in the on-site evaluations and throughout the Assessment process has identified key industry best practices, and clear direction to the Institute on opportunity areas, resulting in the next wave of programs to assist short line railroads in continuously raising the bar on safety culture,” Murta added.

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