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Northern Plains Rail Services

Safety Corner: Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas

For 50 years, Operation Lifesaver (OL) has been the leading national non-profit public education program for rail safety education, committed to preventing collisions, injuries, and fatalities on and around railroad tracks and highway-rail grade crossings for pedestrians and vehicles of all types.

Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas is led by the North Dakota Safety Council and supported by a variety of partners, including federal, state, and local government agencies, highway safety organizations, law enforcement, and the nation’s railroads and their suppliers.

Operation Lifesaver of the Dakotas supports three critical principles:

1. Education

Operation Lifesaver strives to provide education to people of all ages about the hazards at highway-rail crossings. Methods used to reach the public include civic presentations, early elementary and driver education curriculum activities, school bus driver training, industrial safety, law enforcement training, and media coverage.

2. Enforcement

Along with education, enforcement is necessary to provide rules and regulations to motorists and pedestrians as to their rights and responsibilities at highway-rail crossings.

3. Engineering

Highway-rail crossings must be kept as physically and operationally safe as possible, with improvements made where needed. The public should be educated about federal, state, and railroad programs that plan, install, and maintain grade crossings.

The Northern Plains Annual Safety Action Plan was approved by the Safety Culture Team in January 2023. Employees are welcome to review the plan, and if you have not received a copy, please contact your supervisor. The Plan provides details about our targets, summarized below, together with our specific initiatives to achieve these goals.

Remember that the Safety Culture Team is your Team. This group of management and employees is committed to continuous improvement of our safety performance, and is there to assist with any communications or confidential safety matters.

Did you know Eric Hegstrom, Assistant Manager of Safety & Operations, has been educating the public for over 16 years on rail safety? In the past 16 years he has done 168 presentations affecting 3,204 personnel, volunteering at over a dozen events reaching 5,000+ people with the message. Thatʼs amazing!

Do you like public speaking? Are you passionate about rail safety? If so, Eric is looking for you to join Operation Lifesaver!

If interested, contact Eric Hegstrom at 701-351-0415 or eric_hegstrom@nprail.com

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