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BLET member to get top safety award from Shortline Association

(Source: Anacostia Rail Holdings press release, March 24, 2014. Ozzie A. Espana is Secretary-Treasurer of BLET Division 214 in Long Beach, Calif.)

CHICAGO -- Pacific Harbor Line and its parent company Anacostia Rail Holdings (www.anacostia.com) will receive four top safety awards from the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association April 24 at its annual meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Pacific Harbor Line will receive the President’s Award for posting the most hours of injury-free operation among the 545 smaller railroads in the U.S. PHL has earned a second President’s Award for maintaining the best safety rate among railroads with 250,000 to 500,000 man-hours worked. In addition, PHL Locomotive Engineer Ozzie Espana has been named Safety Person of the Year.

A fourth ASLRRA honor will go to Anacostia Rail Holdings Chief Safety and Compliance Officer Tom Leopold as Safety Professional of the Year.

Pacific Harbor Line is one of six railroads operated by Anacostia Rail Holdings in seven states. Other lines are the Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad, Gulf Coast Switching Company, Louisville & Indiana Railroad, New York & Atlantic Railway, and Northern Lines Railway.

Safest team of railroaders

PHL President Otis Cliatt II said, “I am extremely proud of PHL’s team of managers and employees for accepting my challenge of becoming the safest in our industry. Both awards are truly team awards that we are very proud to receive.”

The Safety Person of the Year Award recognizes Ozzie Espana for his involvement in many ways helping employees to work safely.” PHL achieved a new record of 756 days and counting without a reportable injury through February 2014, which Cliatt credits in part to Ozzie’s leadership skills. “Since joining PHL 11 years ago, Ozzie has never sustained an injury,” said Cliatt. “Most recently, Ozzie has been instrumental in leading PHL’s new ‘Peer 2 Peer Program’ where union leadership actively promotes safety, resolves safety-related issues and solicits feedback from the workforce.”

Raising employee safety standards

Tom Leopold was selected as Safety Professional of the Year, based on his effectiveness in motivating employees at all levels to raise their personal and railroad safety standards. In 2013, Anacostia railroads achieved their lowest injury rate--a 68 percent improvement since 2004.

“Tom has more than 30 years of professional safety experience and is one of the most respected safety professionals in the rail industry,” said Anacostia Rail Holdings President Peter Gilbertson. “He has developed comprehensive Safety Action Plans for each of Anacostia’s six railroads, provided industry-leading expertise and led the development of the Actively Caring Employees (ACE) program , all while fostering accountability at all levels of the organization.”

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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