Safety committee makes a difference

Switchman Stelios Paras

Switchman Stelios Paras

The safety committee has been a successful part of peer-to-peer safety on the railroad. The committee includes 11 members, with at least one representing each craft. Three Transportation employees serve as members.

Driving the committee’s monthly meetings are field audits. These are supplemented by employees calling the safety hotline at extension 4099 and leaving a message. They can do so anonymously if they wish. Audit results and hotline tips are discussed during meetings, logged and then channeled to appropriate personnel for action when necessary. But the committee’s impact isn’t just made in the meeting room.

Director of Police and Risk Management Mike Romano said the committee operates with the belief that knowing and following the rules are the keys to injury prevention and that when there are incidents, something could have been done to prevent them.

During audits, committee members observe employee behavior and engage them with safety messages. The goal is to correct behavior and ensure rules compliance, not reprimand employees; initially, there’s no formal report of violations.

“Rules are there to keep employees safe,” said Switchman Stelios Paras,  a committee member and labor union general chairman.

Committee members also inspect industries and railroad infrastructure to assure they meet safety standards.

Safety Chairman John Lucio, a stalwart committee member, is satisfied by what the body has accomplished.

“It’s gotten better and better,” he said “It’s helping keep people safe.”

Paras called the meetings “an open forum where anyone can talk about concerns.”

Committee meetings commence the first Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m. Initially, these include just committee members, but later managers join in.