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Safety above all else

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The safety performance of Freightliner’s Birmingham terminal was recognised with a win in the Rail Safety Person of the Year category.

Freightliner’s operations manager Adrian Pattison and multi-skilled operative Mark Neal shared the title at this year’s RailStaff Awards. They explained how millions of pounds have been invested to improve safety since the freight operator was taken over by American firm Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) in March 2015. The company’s vision is to become the safest rail service provider in the world.

Safety over performance

Safety supersedes performance in G&W’s business culture, said Adrian, which is driven by a goal of zero workplace injuries.

In September, with workers encouraged to take personal ownership of safety, championed by the management team, Freightliner celebrated 1,000 days injury-free across 12 of its sites.

Adrian added, ‘Since G&W took over Freightliner, its emphasis on safety has been above everything else. Safety is its number one.

‘They have introduced a number of initiatives into Freightliner to bolster what we were already doing.’

Open-door policy

Adrian and Mark have worked particularly hard to improve communication within the business, leading tri-monthly safety committee meetings and working closely with colleagues in Birmingham to deliver local safety briefings and training sessions. The pair also encourage an open-door policy when it comes to reporting any potential safety issues.

Adrian added, ‘We have been nominated by our terminal but all Freightliner terminals have been installed with this.

‘It’s an award not just for me and Mark and Freightliner in Birmingham but the company as a whole, for everybody that has taken safety onboard and promoted it within every department and every terminal.’

The Rail Safety Person of the Year award was sponsored by RSSB. Set up in 2003 in the wake of the Ladbroke Grove disaster, RSSB is a not-for-profit organisation which is funded by the industry to share insights and industry best practice around health, safety and wellbeing.

Graeme Cox, head of supplier assurance from RSSB, said Adrian and Mark’s contribution reached right down to the grassroots level.

He added, ‘The subject of safety can turn a lot of people off but it’s great that Freightliner has brought it to life.’

Highly commended: Seth Harrison, HSQE manager at VolkerRail and Jay Thompson, head of safety, security and sustainability at Greater Anglia.