Belt reaches Jake Award status again

Director of Safety Jason Charbonneau

The BRC is a Jake Award-winning railroad once again as it recently was recognized for its 2020 safety accomplishments.

“We are pleased that our employees have been honored for their commitment to safety, which they bring to their jobs every day,” Director of Safety Jason Charbonneau said. “Our employees work each day with safety at the forefront of their minds, and this award is a wonderful recognition of the tremendous dedication and hard work they put forth to working safely.”

To be honored with a Jake Award, an American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) member must perform better than the industry average reportable injury frequency rate, excluding Class I or passenger railroads.

The average rate for 2020 was 2.18 per 200,000 employee on-duty hours. The Belt’s 2020 rate of 1.45 qualified it as a Jake Award recipient.

“The safety culture here at the BRC is about more than winning an award,” Charbonneau said. “It’s about caring for our fellow employees so that everyone returns home safely to their families at the end of the workday. Safety is critically important in our industry; it’s good for all stakeholders, including employees, owners, customers, businesses and the general public.”

Charbonneau sees training and motivation as the keys to maintaining a world-class safety culture. He regards the Belt’s vision — Being better tomorrow than we are today — as vital as well.

“The BRC believes having a vision helps create prosperity,” he said. “It pushes boundaries, creates new possibilities, and it challenges people to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to achieve goals.”

Charbonneau praised employees for “being their brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.” He said that in addition to peer-to-peer interaction, employees’ willingness to actively look for safety enhancements and share concerns with management has been crucial to safety success. 

“When things are brought up, we jump to it,” Charbonneau said. “We have a strong, family-oriented culture.”

The Jake Awards are named for Lowell S. “Jake” Jacobson, the president and general manager of the Copper Basin Railway who is credited with rewarding and raising awareness of small railroad industry safety standards.