Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 28

SAFETY CENTRAL

BUILDING SAFETY CULTURE
AWARENESS IN THE INDUSTRY

I

n July, Tom Murta began his tenure as
Executive Director of the Short Line
Safety Institute (SLSI). Short Line
Connector recently asked him about his
observations during his first six months on
the job, as well as his vision for 2018.

to improve the safety culture through
voluntary, nonpunitive, nonregulatory
assessments. They have education and
training materials at their disposal, as well
as best practices evaluated over the three
years of SLSI operations.

What intrigued you about serving
as the SLSI's Executive Director?
Having worked more than two decades
in the rail industry in leadership positions
that impacted employee and community
safety, I understood the role safety
culture plays in daily operations. When
approached about this role, I saw the
opportunity to take that knowledge
base and apply it to new, professionally
rewarding challenges.

What areas or programs impress
you most?
I am most impressed with the safety
culture assessments. This in-depth review
of safety practices and support systems
on a railroad includes survey results
from employees, observations in the field
and interviews with management and
craft employees. In particular, I've been
impressed with the vast experience of the
assessors and their dedication to make the
assessment meaningful to the railroad.

Photo courtesy of ASLRRA

How do you think the SLSI is
impacting the short line industry?
The SLSI is providing resources, expertise
and materials that would otherwise not
be available to small railroads where
employees wear multiple hats. We see
that railroads are making the decision

Tom Murta, Executive Director of the Short
Line Safety Institute, discusses safety culture
at the fall Central/Pacific Region Meeting.

28

Opportunities for improvement are also
evident, such as consistent application of
management response to a safety issue, and
opportunities to coach up-and-coming
employees in skills such as how to have
difficult conversations. The SLSI will be
working to provide best practices and
training in these areas for the industry.
How have the SLSI offerings
impacted the short line industry?
We provided detailed assessments to 42
railroads in 24 states, affecting 4,152
railroaders; provided 23 webinars; and
presented 27 in-person training sessions.
We are seeking to increase the use of all
our services in 2018.

After spending time in the
community, what impressions do
you have about short line railroads?
I believe there are many railroads that are
not completely familiar with the resources
of the SLSI and are not convinced that
their railroad would benefit from a safety
culture assessment. Railroads that have
had an assessment are impressed with
the process and the information that is
conveyed. As we continue to grow and
develop, we aim to ensure a wider understanding of all of the resources available.

What goals do you have for the SLSI
in 2018?
The SLSI will roll out a follow-up process
for railroads that have previously been
assessed to gauge the change in safety
culture perceptions since the original
assessment. We will be launching a new
website, which will make it even easier
for railroads to schedule assessments and
access the training and information the
SLSI offers. We will also be embarking
upon a specific outreach to those segments
of the short line industry that are not
currently leveraging the resources of
the SLSI.

Are you finding commonalities
across the short line industry
coming through the assessments?
Yes, we are. There are some really
positive practices that are evident, such
as an employee's comfort in approaching
management with safety concerns, feeling
accountable and responsible for safety,
and mutual trust among employees. These
attributes contribute to a positive safety
culture on a railroad.

The SLSI was recently awarded a
$500,000 grant from the Pipeline
and Hazardous Materials Safety
Administration (PHMSA). What can
we expect to see from that grant?
We will be providing training to individual
railroads and training to groups of
railroads by geography and developing
train-the-trainer classes, along with drills
and exercises geared toward small railroads
that move hazardous materials. —

SHORT LINE CONNECTOR // WINTER 2018



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Short Line Connector - Winter 2018

Keepin’ It Rail
Inside Track
Keeping Track
Welcome Aboard
Traffic Report
Trackside Chat
LOOKING AHEAD IN 2018
ASLRRA RELEASES STRATEGIC PLAN
READY FOR RECOVERY
MARKETING AWARD WINNER: PAN AM RAILWAYS
The Class Act
Legislative Log
Safety Central
Meet the Staff
Ad Index
In Transit
The Last Mile
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover1
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover2
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 1
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Keepin’ It Rail
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 3
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Inside Track
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Keeping Track
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Welcome Aboard
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 7
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Traffic Report
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 9
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Trackside Chat
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 11
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - LOOKING AHEAD IN 2018
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 13
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 14
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 15
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 16
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 17
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - ASLRRA RELEASES STRATEGIC PLAN
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 19
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 20
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 21
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - READY FOR RECOVERY
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 23
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 24
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - MARKETING AWARD WINNER: PAN AM RAILWAYS
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - The Class Act
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Legislative Log
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Safety Central
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Ad Index
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - In Transit
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - 31
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - The Last Mile
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover3
Short Line Connector - Winter 2018 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/annual2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter19
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter18
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/FactsAndFigures
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/winter17
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/fall16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/summer16
https://www.nxtbook.com/ygsreprints/ASLRRA/spring2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com