(Wyoming Business Report, January 26) – For the past couple of years, many groups have been calling for greater safety in the railroad industry, specifically because of accidents like the catastrophic July 2013 oil-train derailment that killed 47 people in Quebec. Now, some companies are trying to get the word out that safety measures are working.
Union Pacific issued a press release Monday saying that its annual employee safety performance was the best the company has ever seen after an 11 percent reduction in reportable injuries from 2013. The company said the “impressive” reduction demonstrated the company’s commitment toward reducing workplace injuries.
The company exhibited less than one injury per 200,000 worker hours through 2014, or the equivalent of about 100 employees working for a full year. In other words, less than one in 100 full-time employees of Union Pacific were injured in 2014, statistically speaking.
“The keys to our improvements in employee safety are threefold: a commitment to risk reduction through technology, process improvement and capital investments; all employees embracing our ‘Courage to Care’ pledge to look out for one another; and our well-established, employee-led Total Safety Culture initiative,” said Bob Grimaila, Union Pacific vice president of safety, security and environment. “Together, these activities engage employees to help keep safety top of mind for seasoned employees and prepare newer employees to be safe in the railroad work environment.”
Across all railroads in Wyoming, federal data showed no deaths and 36 injuries through 2014, or three per month. That’s actually an increase from 2013 figures, when there were no deaths and only two reportable injuries occurred per month to total 24 for the year. For both 2013 and 2014, highway-rail incidents claimed a single life in Wyoming.
Other areas showed marked improvements. Ten derailments occurred in the state in 2014, compared to 16 in 2013. Between the years, total train accidents also dipped from 25 to 20 across all operators in the state.