TSB Transportation Safety Summit

Just Culture

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Marc Beaulieu
Chief, Transportation and Safety, VIA RAIL
Ottawa, Ontario, 21 April, 2016

Check against delivery.

Slide 2: Some Background

Operating Environment: VIA only operates fraction of its trains on its own infrastructure:  98% of the time VIA operates over infrastructure belonging to host railways. As a result, the will of host railways must be considered in the assessment of discipline.

Railway history and the “Brown System”: VIA adheres to the “Brown System” also called “discipline by record” and is a member of the Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration.

Assessment of discipline is never arbitrary: VIA encourages its employees to self-report all rule violations and most do. This is because employees know that self-reporting will be a strong consideration during the investigation.

Slide 3: Key Elements

Reporting Environment (Securitel Line): VIA has a confidential and anonymous phone line that allows employees to report all types if situations related to health, safety and security matters.  This line can also be used to any incident, unsafe act or near-miss incident.

Strong Labour Participation: Through its partnership with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference at the National Policy Committee, VIA has made significant strides in safety.

Slide 4: Partnering with the Union to Increase Safety

Safety First: VIA welcomes an honest and open dialogue with its union partner to address any and all issues that may affect safety. In fact this partnership has led to a Sub-Committee called Safety Workshop that holds quarterly meetings.

A Forum Free of Blame and Reprisals: The Safety Workshop Sub-Committee allows the labour side to a forum to discuss practices, review incidents in a way that is completely free of blame and punishment.

Slide 5: Safety Workshop: Key Accomplishments

Cab Red Zone (CRZ) Policy: Following a series of  serious Rules violations, the Safety Workshop developed and adopted CRZ a key Via strategy to maintain situational awareness.

Revamped Passenger Train Instructions: Having identified that VIA special instructions were not user friendly and difficult to navigate through, the Safety Workshop Sub-Committee recommended a complete re-write of all VIA Passenger Train Instructions.

Locomotive Engineer Training Program (Re-certification): Re-designed and re-introduced a highly successful two-week recertification program for locomotive engineers.

GPS Train system: Union involvement in the development of a GPS based operator assistance system

Slide 6: Recap

VIA doesn't have 100% control over the assessment of blame and punishment

VIA (similar to most railways) has a steep history in Labour Relations.

Established Reporting Environment: Securitel Line.

Strong Labour Participation

Proven Track Record in Working with Labour to Enhance Safety.