Town Halls fostering safe communities

Maintenance of Way employees attend a town hall meeting.

Maintenance of Way employees attend a town hall meeting.

Town hall safety meetings are a part of the railroad’s safety culture.

Director of Police and Risk Management Mike Romano has emphasized community policing techniques since beginning his railroad career. He believes the industry’s safety culture can benefit from similar treatment, and town hall meetings are one way to bring employees together in that spirit.

The Belt community at large is made up of smaller communities, from the diesel shop and office building to the hump and repair track. Regularly, one of these communities has its own town hall-style meeting — most recently, 47 track employees had theirs in Building 392.

The meeting started with a briefing on the railroad’s safety status. In addition to discussing issues that might need to be addressed, they also celebrated concerns that already have been addressed.

Employees were asked to keep on the lookout for suspicious persons and activity. Opportunities for health screenings and CPR classes were noted. Safe driving and cellphone use also were on the agenda.

B&B Lead Carpenter Jeff Mateyack discussed housekeeping and what to do in the event of issues concerning vehicles or facilities. In general at town halls, he discusses daily and upcoming maintenance projects. He likes the events because they allow him to get to know employees on a personal level.

“I enjoy listening and addressing their safety concerns,” he said.