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16 The process involves reporting of unsafe conditions and ups, including the appeal process, for bus operators involved hazards to supervisors by radio, telephone, or by filling in accidents and other safety infractions or incidents. out a form. Each reported unsafe condition or hazard has to be responded to by a supervisor. The most common method of disciplinary action pre- Employees conduct monthly job site safety inspections scribed progressive steps of verbal warning, written warning, and regularly report all hazards to management. suspension, then termination. Many of the agencies reported The safety committee discusses current safety hazards that the process is imposed jointly by management and union. as well as possible solutions. We also have a preventable accident team made up of managers and administrative When asked if bus operators could be discharged for safety- employees who meet to watch videos and analyze trends. related accidents or incidents, close to 96% of respondents When a hazard is identified, it is reported to management, answered affirmatively, as detailed in Figure 10. The respon- and the proper person is notified to mitigate the hazard. dents explained that the severity, cause, and frequency were The maintenance manager walks the property every day all justifiable causes to discharge a bus operator because of a to check for hazards and resolves simple ones daily. safety-related accident or incident. Safety and security protocols are included in the manual given to each new driver and are reviewed periodically. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: Anyone who has safety concerns brings it to the atten- tion of the safety committee, which meets monthly. Before starting a task or project it is recommended that It would need to be a very severe accident, such as a fatal- employees perform a risk assessment, which includes ity, for an operator to be terminated for a first offense. If identifying all potential sources of harm and develop- the operator were involved in several lesser accidents, ing a safety strategy. he/she would move through progressive discipline to suspension, then termination. Although it is not mandated, most contractors have a Organizational Policies Related policy that operators involved in three preventable acci- to Safety Discipline dents in a 24-month period are immediately dismissed. Progressive discipline is a management tool for dealing with Disciplinary action is determined by the severity of the job-related behavior that does not meet expected and com- safety violation and also by the progressive discipline municated performance standards. A progressive discipline process. system or policy provides a basic framework for handling The plan imposes progressive discipline for recurring employee problems fairly and consistently by prescribing a avoidable accidents and immediate termination for a series of consequences, increasing in severity, for any nega- severe display of negligence. tive behavior including misconduct, poor performance, vio- Depending on the severity of the accident, an operator lations of company policy, absenteeism, and tardiness. can be charged with gross negligence and terminated. However, this rarely occurs. Employee Discipline Practices Under contract language, only a "serious" infraction for Safety-Related Incidents evokes the option for discharge. The operator can be discharged in two ways: through Survey respondents were asked to describe in detail how their progressive discipline or immediately, depending on organization handles disciplinary actions and related follow- the severity of the negligence involved. FIGURE 10 Bus operator discharge policy for safety incidents.

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17 The operator goes through the regular grievance pro- maintenance department or other departments have the same cess; discipline is progressive based on the discipline or a similar disciplinary program or process. code. Dismissal follows gross carelessness or a combination Consolidated Open Ended Responses: of violations. Bus operators can be discharged for safety-related acci- Our maintenance is contracted out, but the contractor dents or incidents, which are governed under different has a disciplinary procedure with more discretion to types of progressive disciplinary action procedures. terminate if justified. If an operator is charged with having four accidents Maintenance employees are disciplined for preventable in a 12-month period, or is involved in a pedestrian and nonpreventable accidents; repeated occurrences can accident, whether fatal or not fatal, he or she could be lead to termination. terminated. Safety is not an issue in the discipline process. We follow the negotiated labor agreement, which lists Maintenance is contracted out. the punishable infractions and the appropriate disciplin- Maintenance does not have a shared pool discipline ary procedures. component for individual accidents. The safety unit is not involved in the discipline process. Drivers can be removed from service immediately for safety-related accidents or incidents as per the Effectiveness of Safety Disciplinary Programs contract. Operators can have up to three avoidable accidents per Survey respondents were asked if their organization possessed rolling calendar year--with the fourth avoidable accident any data that would indicate the effectiveness of their disci- being cause for dismissal. If the operator does not report plinary process on the agency's safety performance. As shown the accident or rear-ends another vehicle, it counts as in Figure 12, only 36.4% of respondents indicated that their two accidents. For a safety violation, operators may be agency had data to document the effectiveness of their agen- terminated upon the fifth safety violation in a rolling cy's disciplinary systems as it relates to safety. calendar year. An operator may be dismissed if it is determined that King County Metro (Seattle) reported that 30 years of his- gross negligence was a factor and or if the operator has torical accident data are stored electronically and can be que- been involved in multiple preventable accidents. ried in a database environment. It stated the one parameter that Termination depends on length of time between acci- it tracks carefully is accidents per million miles, which have dents, past safety record, the severity of the accident, and dropped significantly as a result of the qualitative safety pro- other conditions, such as a violation of the cell phone cess, positive progressive discipline, and various safety aware- ban, traffic violation, or substance issue, or any other ness programs employed over a 30-year period. major unsafe act violation. Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MinneapolisSt. Paul) Respondents were also asked if their maintenance depart- responded that it has extensive data including incident details, ments had similar disciplinary programs or processes. As corrective actions, penalties/incentives, accident claim costs, shown in Figure 11, 87% of respondents indicated that their safety committee recommendations and results, number of FIGURE 11 Similar maintenance disciplinary policies.

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18 FIGURE 12 Availability of data to measure disciplinary process effectiveness. incidents by trips per miles, and the Minnesota DOT inspection Training reports and maintenance records. Performance evaluation Observational follow-up Utah Transit Authority (Salt Lake City) reported that its key data reflected performance indicators that addressed the company's goal of a minimum number of accidents annually. Potential Changes to Policies and Practices The number of actual accidents that occurred was less than the limits set in the agency's annual goals. One of the survey questions asked respondents to answer the question: "How can organizational policies and practices Most of the respondents indicated that their safety pro- toward discipline for safety performance be improved?" gram was not involved in the discipline process, making it difficult to track the causal relationship between discipline Many of the responses reiterated the undertones of existing and safety improvements. research outlined in our literature review. The literature review uncovered a stronger correlation between employee safety performance (i.e., policies/practices) that include reward pro- Customer Safety Complaints grams than between performance and progressive discipline alone. Agencies generally handled customers' safety complaints using the system's standard customer complaint system. Although no respondent indicated that safety complaints were Most significant were suggestions that agencies may want given a higher priority, most indicated an initial assessment to focus on recognizing and rewarding positive safety behav- and priority process were used with safety-related issues. ior, impose agency-wide consistency with regard to disci- Many respondents indicated that complaints were addressed plinary procedures, and increase employee training. Other within 24 hours. The following bulleted list summarizes summary responses suggested: how transit agencies reported they typically handle customer safety complaints. Creating more progressive disciplinary steps Creating more penalties and incentives Log Complaints Emphasizing training and awareness Complaint cards Providing consistent disciplinary actions throughout each Customer information tracking systems department Website input Creating a committee comprised of unions, SAFE, Investigation of Complaints labor relations, general counsel, and the executive On-board cameras leadership team to specific progressive disciplinary Interviews (passenger, others, operator) actions for safety infractions, to be placed in a policy Resolution of Complaints instruction Follow-up with customer Recognition Counseling Continually reviewing policies and practices for Suspension improvement.