In rail country, safety is everyone's business

A culture that encourages/fosters/demands/nurtures "safety first" is imperative in this industry. And it doesn't exist just because you say it does; from the top down, you have to mean it, you have to work at, you have to make sure others work at it, you have to make sure others know/believe you mean it. In rail country, safety is everyone's business — everyone "has both the right and the obligation to report unsafe situations and practices," say Ron Mitchell and Rob Close of Perth, Australia-based Ausenco, an engineering and project management firm that recently repaired 110 kilometers of existing one-meter gauge short-line railroad, added 25 kilometers of new track and built an export facility in Senegal, West Africa. Building a safety culture was paramount during the project; as a result, the firm achieved 4 million person-hours without any lost-time incidents, as Mitchell and Close wrote in a "Guest Comment" that was published in our January issue.

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