The Railway Association of Canada (RAC) on Aug. 8 announced the winners of its annual Safety Awards, which recognize RAC member-companies’ initiatives “that help to ensure our country’s rail network remains among the safest in the world.” Canadian Pacific, VIA Rail, Cando Rail Services and Genesee & Wyoming received awards for their “outstanding safety leadership” in 2018. Winners will receive their awards at an RAC ceremony in November.
Class I – Employee Incident
Canadian Pacific for its Locomotive Engineer Training Simulation Program and the classroom version of its Simulation Training for Conductors initiative. Using these simulators, trainees experience operating a locomotive on CP routes across North America. The simulation system presents trainees with various real-life operating scenarios, which they must master before they enter the field, and scores them on their train-handling performance. The development of these initiatives has resulted in more efficient on-the-job training at CP.
Class I – Third-Party Incident
CP for its Predictive Wayside Detection – Bearings initiative. To mitigate safety risks associated with railcar roller bearing failures, railways use wayside detectors to collect data about the state (temperature, vibration) of bearings on passing trains. While these data acquisition systems are common within the North American rail industry, CP is the first railway to combine the information and develop a predictive model. This state-of-the-art technology allows CP to identify deteriorating bearings three months prior to failure and proactively remove railcars from service. Since implementing the model, CP has reduced in-transit bearing failures by 96%.
Non-Class I – Employee/Third-Party Incident
Cando Rail Services Ltd. for its Employee Safety Education Program, a full-day training session for all Cando employees including senior managers. The program emphasizes safety culture and includes modules about Safety Management Systems, hazard identification and more.
Genesee & Wyoming Canada Inc. for its Target Zero Training program aimed at strengthening organizational safety culture. This interactive, two-day training session is designed to prevent workplace accidents by helping employees become safety ambassadors and encouraging them to make safety part of every decision. Using practical exercises adapted to railway operations, the program also helps employees to better understand human behavior and address at-risk situations, while emphasizing the importance of effective communication.
Passenger – Employee Incident
VIA Rail Canada for its Operational Safety Strategy. Based on three pillars—training, communication and monitoring—VIA Rail developed this strategy and integrated it into its SMS as part of its goal to enhance its safety culture.
“The programs, technologies and strategies recognized are helping to advance rail safety in Canada,” said RAC President and CEO Marc Brazeau. “It’s important to note that so many of the initiatives emphasize safety culture that, as the Railway Safety Act Review report notes, is a fundamental element an effective rail safety regime. The winners of this year’s awards represent different segments of our country’s rail industry—Class I’s, short lines and passenger carriers, which shows our collective commitment to continuous safety improvement.”