BNSF teams celebrate safety records

Highlighting our commitment to safety, service, innovation, people, communities and our heritage.

Mar 01, 2024

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3 min.

BNSF teams celebrate safety records

Staff Writer

At BNSF, safety is the most important thing we do. Several teams around our 32,500-mile rail network have been maintaining exceptional safety records over the past year or more, and we’re proud to highlight their hard work. Take a look at these top-performing teams:

Memphis Yard

Memphis yard crew
Memphis yard crew

The Memphis, Tennessee, intermodal facility has more than 100 team members who handle more than 300,000 container lifts each year. This team has worked more than 700 days injury-free, demonstrating that they value safety 24/7.

“Our motto is ‘making safety a value is our priority,’” Douglas Gage, terminal superintendent, said. “Everyone takes that to heart.”

Because Memphis is an intermodal facility, they often interact with people from outside the facility, like truck drivers. Thanks to their focus on safety, they’ve built bonds between each other and the trucking community.

Another way the team maintains its safety record is through training. Intermodal equipment operators (IEOs) use specialized equipment to lift containers, and they train each other on job duties and safety protocols. This develops relationships and reinforces the safety culture for new employees. It also helps everyone to know they’re all working together to build their safety culture.

San Diego Yard

Part of the San Diego team
Part of the San Diego team

The San Diego, California, yard and its team members have reached 1,100-plus days injury-free. They focus on three essential ingredients to maintain their safety record: the humility to listen to one another, courage to speak up, and steadfast commitment to do both of those things consistently.

“The commitment to listening to our teammates, in particular, establishes the foundation of trust that each member of our San Diego team has in one another,” William Poirier, trainmaster, said. “At the same time, our team perpetually demonstrates that they have the courage to stop what they are doing and speak up if they are unsure about a situation. The trust the team has in one another ultimately fosters the courage to stop and speak up without fear.”

Veteran team members at the yard are also known for taking newly hired crew members under their wings to help give them the confidence and courage to speak up if they are ever uncertain about a situation.

Murray Yard

Part of the Murray team does yard cleanup.
Part of the Murray team does yard cleanup.

Murray Yard in North Kansas City, Missouri, has reached 1,200-plus days injury-free. Over the past few years, the yard's efforts have included building a culture of collective pride in their safety performance.

“Our safety results have increased worker satisfaction and increased their pride in the work,” Superintendent of Operations David Nickles said. “Safety starts with good conversations between the trainmasters and crews for open and honest dialogue.”

Through more open conversations and quick responses to crew concerns, Nickles and his team have built strong relationships. While each member of the crew is responsible for their own safety, they watch out for each other as well. The longer they continue to have injury-free days, the more pride they feel in maintaining their record and keeping each other safe.

The team recently joined together to clean up the yard, and helping to care for their workplace reinforced the tone to move forward as a team.

“Cleaning the yard together showed that we care,” Nickles said. “It was more than just saying the words. I’m looking forward to how much further we can get as a team.”

Springfield Yard

Springfield crew works together to clean up their yard.
Springfield crew works together to clean up their yard.

Team members at our Springfield, Missouri, yard have achieved more than 2,000 days injury-free. The team credits their record to a commitment to each other and a positive attitude. They have developed a culture where everyone looks out for one another and takes care of the yard to keep it a safe place to work.

“Our team has done a tremendous job,” Chris Musgrove, superintendent of safety and operating practices, said. “A record like this can’t be luck and our culture plays a huge part in that. This team communicates effectively and works together well.”

Communication in the form of Job Safety Briefings, meetings and informal gatherings is one of the biggest factors to maintaining their injury-free record, they say. Employees and supervisors keep each other accountable. Their open and honest dialogue builds passion and makes it fun to come to work.

Victorville Yard

The Victorville crew takes a small break together.
The Victorville crew takes a small break together.

The Victorville, California, yard has an exceptional safety record of more than 6,100 days without an injury. That’s almost 17 years injury-free! Division Trainmaster Stuart Clayton credits their record to everyone watching out for each other.

“We’re a small crew and we have a culture of being your brother’s keeper through constant communication,” he said. “Everyone has to do the right thing, not only for themselves, but also for everyone else.”

The crew knows there is no magical formula to staying safe, so each member must be vigilant and always aware. They treat each other as they would their own family, which creates a culture that is safe and fun to work in.

“I work safe because between me and my fiancé, we have 33 grandchildren and I want to be around as long as I can to enjoy them,” crew member Rich Hopkins said.

Congratulations to each of these teams on their outstanding safety achievements!

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