Safety agreement update

Transportation Safety Agreement out for ratification

Transportation team: 

More good news to share! Throughout the summer and early fall, we discussed how you achieved dramatic year-over-year reductions in serious incidents through our traditional “summer spike” season. This focus on safety has been unprecedented, and we have been working diligently to keep the momentum going for the future.

We have been working with our BLET and SMART-TD partners to pen a new Transportation Safety Agreement (TSA). After many discussions, we have come to a potential agreement that I believe works for all of us. Some General Committees have decided to present the tentative agreement for ratification, and we hope others decide to do so as well. I have no doubt the arrangement we piloted through the summer can become part of our broader solution for the future in reaching our ultimate goal of zero accidents and injuries.

As you know, we took several unprecedented steps to shake up safety at the beginning of the summer. These included adding Summer Safety Leaders and temporarily modifying our long-held disciplinary handling of operations testing and remote exceptions. Since June, employees observed or found in violation of some of our most serious rules have received coaching and retraining instead of discipline. In fact, July through September 2021, we saw a decrease of 57% for Serious violation employee investigations – that’s 80 employee investigations in 2021 vs. 186 in 2020.

I am confident this coaching and retraining has made us a safer workplace, and the renewed focus on safety and communication around it will continue. Additionally, we will continue to handle operations testing and remote exceptions through conversations and not discipline throughout the ratification process. On or about November 1, BNSF will serve cancellation notices for the current Safety Summit Agreements and all existing BAPP programs, effective December 31, 2021. However, we remain very optimistic that the new TSA will be ratified, and the new Safety Leaders/Members will be in place to continue and further expand upon the great work we started this summer.

Stay safe, and I’ll share more updates soon. 

Matt Garland
Vice President, Transportation

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