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Track Office Finishes 2008 with Zero Injuries

"When our people can talk to you about safety, then that means they’re thinking about it.” Randy Ruppert Area Manager

RailWorks’ Track office in Fremont, Neb., achieved a rare accomplishment in the construction world during 2008. The office, which provides track construction services throughout Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Western Iowa, and Eastern Wyoming, worked the entire year without a reportable injury.

Area manager Randy Ruppert says his team has a lot to be proud of and acknowledges the achievement reflects an attitude change from the top down and the bottom up.

“Our accomplishment reflects a growing commitment from RailWorks that says safety is not just about the bottom line, it’s about providing a healthy, safe work environment. When our people working in the field understood management was committed then they got on the bandwagon,” says Randy. “They started looking out for each other, looking for ways to improve safety, making recommendations on hand tools, equipment, anything that affects their daily lives. They started bringing issues to you to discuss because they know management is sincere about it.”

Randy says his people appreciate the support of a dedicated safety officer and management that focuses on recommendations and positive reinforcement, instead of criticism. “There’s a real sense of ‘we’re going to change this because we don’t want you hurt,’ not ‘you’ve done something wrong.’ It’s an atmosphere of growth. That’s the biggest change that’s affected our performance.”

A safe work environment requires interaction, emphasizes Randy. “Don’t criticize, but point out concerns and then talk about it…what’s wrong with the process or tool, what we can do to change or eliminate the issue. When our people can talk to you about safety, then that means they’re thinking about it.”

Randy adds providing a safe work environment makes RailWorks a better place to work. “When we hire employees, we don’t just hire the individual, we hire their families. We’re hiring people who want a career. We need to assure them and their families we’ll do what it takes to provide a safe work area.”

Congratulations to Randy and the entire Fremont team for their exemplary performance.