NORFOLK, Va. — Employees in Norfolk Southern’s mechanical department turned in a history-making safety performance in 2008.
The employees completed the year with a reportable injury ratio of 0.53, the lowest ever achieved by any operating department at Norfolk Southern. The ratio represents the number of reportable injuries for every 200,000 man-hours worked, the industry standard for measuring safety performance.
NS has 5,800 mechanical department employees responsible for maintaining the railroad’s 3,976 locomotives and 94,660 freight cars. In 2008, they worked a total 11.9 million man-hours. Tim Heilig, vice president mechanical, Atlanta, leads the department.
The mechanical and other NS departments and employees with outstanding safety accomplishments, as well as 31 employees who performed heroic acts in 2008, were recognized at Norfolk Southern’s annual safety awards meeting in Norfolk today. NS has conducted the meeting — featuring employee speakers and employee-made exhibits — every year since 1987.
Steve Tobias, vice chairman and chief operating officer, told this year’s attendees that they have created a culture of safety. “Safety is not the result of rules, practices, engineering, and enforcement. These things are integral to the safety process, but they don’t make people work safely,” he said. “What causes a person to work safely and what causes a company to be centered on safety is when safety becomes the core value of the individual and the company.”
CEO Wick Moorman commended employees, noting the positive correlation between safety and service. “Our safety process and the Norfolk Southern people who were responsible for this terrific performance are at the heart of all of our past and future successes,” he said.
Virginia Governor Tim Kaine said NS employee safety achievements help the Commonwealth focus on safety as it advances its transportation priorities. Rail investment is the right thing to do for the economy, for the environment, and to reduce highway congestion, Kaine said.