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Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline (2012)

Chapter: Chapter Three - Survey Results

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter Three - Survey Results." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2012. Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14651.
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8 chapter three Survey reSultS The primary focus of this synthesis project was to document the effectiveness of bus operator rewards and discipline pro- grams on bus transit safety. As part of this effort, an on-line survey was sent to 30 U.S. and Canadian transit agencies pre- identified as having active and innovative safety programs. The survey focused on collecting information from transit systems on their organization’s commitment to safety, reward, and dis- cipline programs, and agency safety standards and practices. The survey’s three focus areas included: • The Organization and Safety • Organizational Policies Related to Safety Discipline • Safety Incentives and Awards. This chapter describes the process used to conduct the survey and summarizes the results. Methodology The online survey “Improving Transit Safety through Rewards and Discipline” was designed to elicit information on each organization’s safety policies, safety discipline programs, and safety incentives and rewards programs. Once finalized by the TCRP synthesis Topic Panel, the survey was posted online and pretested by three transit agencies. The pretest resulted in minor changes to the survey. The final survey is included in Appendix A. A targeted list of transit agencies with active bus operator safety programs was used in this effort. These candidate tran- sit agencies were identified based on recommendations from TCRP panel members, trade organizations such as APTA and CTAA, and from agencies identified in the literature review. The project team contacted the candidate participants to gauge their interest and willingness to participate in the study effort and to identify an agency contact person. Thirty transit agencies were identified to participate in the synthesis study. Each of the selected transit agencies was sent an e-mail explaining the purpose and importance of the survey and providing a link to the online survey instrument. Follow-up e-mails were sent approximately two weeks after the original contact to encourage participation. Complete responses were received from 25 of the 30 candidate transit agencies, a response rate of 83.3%. The list of the 25 respon- dents is included in Appendix B. It should be noted that several figures included later in this chapter incorporated responses from those surveys deemed incomplete. Therefore, there is representation from more than the 25 responses deemed substantially complete. overview of reSpondentS The analysis of the 25 responses categorized as “substantially complete” revealed a good balance in transit agency size and geographic location. The respondents were located in 14 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Table 1 and Fig- ure 1 show the respondents’ disbursement. In addition, the size of the responding transit systems was examined using the National Transit Database. Systems were subdivided into four groups based on their annual passengers transported. As detailed in Table 2, a good cross section of transit agency sizes was represented in the survey respondents. Finally, the responding systems were examined to deter- mine the types of transit services that each agency provided. Figure 2 indicates that the responding transit agencies all operated fixed route bus service, most also provided para- transit services, and several operated heavy rail, light rail, commuter rail, and/or bus rapid transit. Figure 3 provides a summary of the types of areas served by the respondents. Overall, the respondents represent a good cross section of service modes and service areas. the organization and Safety organization Mission Statements and Culture A mission statement is a formal, written statement clearly identifying the purpose of a company or organization. The objective of a mission statement is to provide a framework for decision making, identify organizational goals, and provide a sense of organizational direction. In addition to defining the purpose of a company or organization, the public transit indus- try uses mission statements to create the organization’s overall culture and typically includes specific language about safety, mobility, impact on the environment, and the economy.

9 As part of the “Improving Transit Safety through Rewards and Discipline” survey, several questions were proposed to respondents about their organization’s mission statement. The first survey question simply asked respondents if their agency had a mission statement. All survey respondents indicated that their transit system had a mission statement (Figure 4). An important follow-up question inquired if the topic of safety was declared in the mission statement. Only 58.6% of respondents indicated that safety was mentioned in their agency’s mission statement (Figure 5). Critical to the effectiveness of any mission statement is that employees not only know what the mission statement is, but that its essence permeates the organization. When asked if and where the agency mission statement was posted or dis- played within their agency, 71.6% of the respondents reported that their agency’s mission statement was posted within their organization or included in organizational documentation. Table 3 provides a summary of the responses identifying how the agencies incorporate the agency mission statement within the organization. System Safety program plans According to APTA, the primary purpose for the existence of a transit system is to move people safely. To accomplish this goal, an individual tran- sit system must be able to identify all hazards in order to elimi- nate, minimize, or control them, and identify all safety-related responsibilities, delegating these responsibilities to the proper units within the organization and providing these units with the resources to carry out their assigned responsibilities. A transit TABlE 1 GEOGRAPhIC DISTRIBUTION OF RESPONDENTS FIGURE 1 Locations of North American transit operators participating in study.

10 system has the responsibility of applying operating, technical, and management techniques and principles to the safety aspects of the system throughout its life cycle to reduce hazards to the lowest practical level through the most effective use of available resources. This process is known as system safety. A transit system establishes a System Safety Program Plan (SSPP) (or similar document) by formalizing this pro- cess in a written document. Although such a plan is not a federal requirement, many states require the development, incorporation, and maintenance of a transit SSPP. All survey respondents indicated that their agency has a written SSPP or similar document (Figure 6). The topic of transit safety has evolved over time and, in many cases, is now a key performance indicator for transit systems. As a result, the transit industry, along with many other safety-oriented industries, including the nuclear indus- try, developed the concept of “safety culture,” a term that – – TABlE 2 RElATIvE SIzE OF RESPONDENTS FIGURE 2 Types of services provided.

11 FIGURE 3 Types of areas served. FIGURE 4 Agency mission statement. FIGURE 5 Mention of safety in mission statement.

12 TABlE 3 USE OF ThEIR MISSION STATEMENT FIGURE 6 System safety program plans.

13 originated sometime in the late 1980s. Safety culture is often used to describe the way in which safety is managed in an organization, and typically echoes the mission, attitudes, per- ceptions, and principles valued by employees as they relate to safety. The SSPPs typically include requirements for regular updates and revisions. The plans also detail specific responsi- bilities for the operating units within the agency. The endorse- ment of the plan by the agency general manager is a common requirement. In most medium to large transit agencies, responsibility for plan oversight and management is assigned to safety, security, risk, and/or training departments, with those duties typically assigned to directors of operations or maintenance in smaller systems. While one office or individual is usually assigned lead responsibility, most agencies employ some form of designated safety committees. Most of the respondents providing details used an inter- nal safety committee as a method of communicating and evaluating safety-related incidents and accidents. In each agency, the safety committee was an organizational structure where members represent a group of employees. however, the size of the safety committee and the membership varied. Although survey respondents were not specifically asked to provide detailed information about their safety committees, additional information was extrapolated from case example interviews. Most agencies reported that safety committees included a mix of representatives from both organized labor (if applicable) and management, and typically would include a safety officer, lead trainer, transit supervisor, maintenance representative, and bus operator representative (peer). Many of the respondents indicated that having membership diver- sity on the safety committee was advantageous, leading to better overall participation and providing the employees with a sense of ownership of the agency’s safety program. employee involvement The existence of a SSPP does not ensure effective self- implementation and regulation. The key to any safety program is employee (i.e., employees, unions) “buy-in” (i.e., accep- tance of and commitment to the plan). Some research has shown that behavior-based safety can be an excellent means of increasing employee involvement, encouraging peers to provide safety and risk feedback to one another. With proactive management of occupational safety and risk, employees are praised for safe behaviors, reinforcing them. With the concept of “buy-in” in mind, survey respondents were asked several questions about union and employee involvement and education of the agency’s SSPP. Figure 7 reveals that 50% of survey respondents included organized labor unions in the application of organizational safety programs or processes. Additionally, most of the respon- dents who indicated that organized labor unions are involved in the application of the agency’s safety programs/process noted their involvement through regular participation in monthly or quarterly safety committees meetings. As detailed in Appendix B, 4 of the 25 responding tran- sit agencies are not unionized. When adjusting the survey responses for these nonunionized systems, the percent involving their unions in the application of their safety pro- gram or process increases to 59%. Several of the questions in the survey provided an oppor- tunity for the respondents to supply open-ended responses to provide additional details. These responses are being pro- vided following the related question in a consolidated format. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • The union participates in the safety committee meet- ings and accident review committees. FIGURE 7 Involvement of organized labor in safety.

14 • The union is solicited for safety suggestions and recommendations. • The union participates in the development and imple- mentation of the SSPP. focus on Safety (new and existing employees) Following the concept of buy-in, the survey posed an addi- tional question to survey respondents about new bus opera- tor orientation. As anticipated, 100% of survey respondents indicated that safety was addressed in orientation. Respon- dents further described the importance of safety in their orga- nization, stating that it is the first topic emphasized in new bus operator orientation. Respondents added that safety is the principal theme taught in operator training and that it is also pervasive throughout their agency’s entire training program. In addition to bus operator orientation and training, survey respondents were also asked about the involvement of bus operator participation in safety meetings. As detailed in Fig- ure 8, 96% of the agencies surveyed reported that bus opera- tors participated in the meetings, with the frequencies of the meetings ranging from monthly to quarterly. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Meetings included basic introduction to safety policies and introduction to bus safety and yard safety. • Topics included violence in the work place, health and safety orientation, and specific work site safety orienta- tion as well as supporting safety messaging throughout the new bus driver training program. • Training covered defensive driving and bus maneuver- ing training through lecture and discussion, and videos. • As part of our performance-based contract with our contractors, new driver training requires orientation by the company which includes safety elements. • It is our number one priority and is reinforced it in every section of our training. • There is a one-hour training session that explains the concepts of safety and how to safely perform each func- tion. Safe procedures are also described to each new operator beginning a new project. • Safety is covered in every aspect of our six-week train- ing program. • Introduction to safety programs vary at all locations. • Safety is taught as the first of three main priorities. • The curriculum repeatedly emphasizes the importance of safety—that the 3 S’s are safety, service, and security. • Operator training involves numerous presentations including a piece by the director of safety, the executive director, and others. • All new bus operator hires are required to attend a four- week training program. TSI (Transportation Safety Insti- tute) Bus Operator Training Program is this agency’s formal training program. The program includes a combi- nation of classroom training and road training. • Staff from safety/security provides an overview. • This training lasts two days. The System Safety and Environmental Management Department each oversees one day, familiarizing new bus operators/employees with the different types of Occupational Safety and health Administration mandatory classes, the system safety program plan, and systems training. • It is explained that safety is mandatory and a condition of employment. • Safety is discussed at orientation and during our eight- week new operator training program. • Each new employee, whether an operator or from any other discipline, and whether union or management, goes through safety orientation training upon hiring. • All new operators learn immediately that safety is num- ber one and receive extensive safety training. • Safety and security, and defensive driving techniques are covered during driver training. • All drivers receive passenger assistance training and videos on safety and security. • Safety is pervasive throughout the training process. FIGURE 8 Integration of safety in operator training and meetings.

15 • The risk manager and safety and security director have a module and spend a whole day on this subject. • Safety procedures are included throughout the syllabus in terms of creating the right habits—we cover each aspect of a safe driving system and review based on the five keys at each opportunity. hazard identification programs hazard identification is another foundation of a safety manage- ment system. hazard identification programs teach employees how to identify, report, record, and correct potential safety and security risks. The most important requirement of a haz- ard identification program is that it be continuously assessed and improved to ensure that all hazards are identified and con- trolled when new work starts or work processes change. In another attempt to gauge how transit organizations integrate safety into the culture of the organization, as well as explore hazard identification programs, survey respondents were asked two questions. • Does your organization have a “hazard identification” process? • If yes, how does it work? Figure 9 illustrates that more than 88% of respondents have a hazard identification process. The following provide some of the varied approaches used to the hazard identifica- tion process: • Safety committee responsibility • Procedures detailed in operator manual • Preventable accident committee • Monthly job site inspections • Reporting process • Multiple reporting options: radio, phone, forms—all requiring a written response • Signage and tagging • Severity of hazard categorized and prioritized • Use of a hazard identification and mitigation matrix to prioritize the identified hazards • Use of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Employees are encouraged to submit reports to the superintendents of each facility. Superintendents evalu- ate the reports and sort out the departments that need to take action for each such hazard. • We have a formalized reporting structure and documents to record data for tracking and compliance improvement purposes. • Each of the contractors has its own process and these are identified in their training programs. • Our Office of Safety and Security has provided manuals and training to all managers and supervisors regarding hazardous materials and how to contain any spills and how to deal with different situations. • Right-To-Know (MSDS) and annual PPE (personal pro- tective equipment)/haz COM (hazard communication) training. • The employee finding a hazard is requested to bring it to the supervisor’s attention. • There is a Safety and Environmental Inspection Plan which provides for monthly inspections using a safety checklist. • Tagging and signage. • The hazard identification and mitigation matrix is used during the facility safety audit conducted by the safety committee. • Training is based on the SSPP plan: evaluate, determine risk, rate, and then address. • hazards are normally categorized in terms of severity and probability of occurrence. • Maintenance employees are trained to identify hazards and to deal with them accordingly. Operators are trained to contact the dispatcher about possible hazards. FIGURE 9 Hazard identification process.

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

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

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

19 Safety inCentiveS and rewardS A safety incentive program can enhance and foster improve- ments to established safety programs. They serve as a mech- anism to help build cooperation and commitment among employees, management, and organized labor. however, the main goal of any employee safety incentive program is to increase employee awareness of safety issues and encourage additional attention to safe behaviors, rather than focus on the incentives or rewards. organization reward practices for Safety Survey respondents were asked if their agencies offered indi- vidual or group incentives and rewards programs designed to improve safety performance. As shown in Figure 13, more than 85% of the agencies indicated that they employed indi- vidual or group incentive and rewards programs. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • System safety keeps track of employee’s performance, including absenteeism, miss-outs, and accidents. Once it is determined that an employee is eligible for an award, system safety usually issues a certificate or a special award ranging from $100 to $1,500. • Board periodically has safety and customer service com- petitions between six major corridor reporting locations. The reporting location with the fewest collisions wins, as does the location with fewest customer complaints. • We offer safe driving pins for years of safe driving. The agency used to give savings bonds, but budget cuts eliminated them. • The agency names a driver of the month and year. Also, safety pins are awarded based on safe miles driven. • We have implemented a number of incentive programs to promote safety at our contractors. Our Customer Ser- vice Recognition Program promotes customer safety and satisfaction with yearly awards. Our Safe Driving Awards Program gives yearly pins to drivers who have not been in a preventable accident. • We provide safety pins for years of service without preventable accidents. • We have an annual Safety Pin Program that recognizes drivers who are accident-free. We also hold a bus roadeo each year for all drivers who have not been involved in a preventable accident. • Safe driver awards are presented to those operators who perform accident-free for a year; safe worker awards go to those maintenance employees who are accident-free for a year. • Operators need to work a certain number of hours and be accident-free. • Each supervisor has the ability to recognize any employee for any reason—including safety-related incidents. There is also a Peer-to-Peer program through which employees may recognize each other for performance or safety areas. There is also a program called Rising Stars which rec- ognizes improved work performance. We have several specific recognition programs based on performance and/ or safety goals that are awarded on a quarterly or annual basis. These programs can be tailored to fit the changing goals and needs of the business unit. • We apply the National Safety Council program: transit operators receive a recognition award for each success- ful year of safe driving supplemented by our agency’s “incentive” awards, which feature special recognition. • We award yearly safety certificates and safety pins. We also designate one day (usually in May) to recognize our safe operators with coffee and doughnuts in the morning and pizza, subs, and beverages in the afternoon. We also hang up a poster with the names of the operators and the number of their safe driving years. • Operators are recognized each year with a safe driving lapel pin. FIGURE 13 Use of incentive reward programs.

20 • In the lost Time Program, the department qualifies (100 days, 200 days, 300 days, or 365 days per fiscal year) by not having any on-duty injuries resulting in days off on workman’s compensation. Operators qualify for the Safe Driver Award with no preventable accidents and 90% attendance for the year. This award is cumulative. • There is an annual safety banquet. Operators and main- tenance workers are rewarded for each year that they have had no accidents. • Certificates and patches are awarded. • Employees are rewarded for safety performance. • We review incidents on a monthly basis in three categories: driver complaints including safety-related incidents, missed trips, and fleet maintenance. Based on the number of substantiated incidents, performance falls in either the “superior,” “acceptable,” or “unaccept- able” range. Incentives are given for “acceptable” and “superior” service (more for superior), and penalties are imposed for “unacceptable” service. • For each year of service without a preventable accident, operators receive a safety award which includes a gift certificate. Employees can also receive major awards, such as jewelry, for 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years of continu- ous safe operation. • Operators receive a pin and a certificate for consecutive years of safe driving. • Quarterly bonuses are paid to employees scoring several behavioral items. lunch is provided at safety meetings when milestones are reached. Certificates for safe oper- ation and recognition at meetings including a shared group monetary incentive for accident-free operation. • Employees with perfect safety records are eligible for clothing and cash awards. When asked about the duration of the programs, respon- dents reported that close to 61% of the programs are ongoing, 9% described them as time-limited, and 30% of the agen- cies indicated they employed both ongoing and time-limited incentive and reward programs (see Figure 14). There is a common belief among some in the transit industry that ongo- ing “incentive” programs become “status quo” and lose their effectiveness as motivators. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Awards are presented at each board meeting (six per year) for safety and customer service; individual safe driving awards are given to collision-free drivers on an annual basis. • Board presents annual and cumulative awards. • Time limits vary at contractor locations. • Rising Stars is a monthly program. Peer-to-Peer is ongoing, as is the Road Call lunches program. We had a complaint reduction program that was planned for a year. • Major awards are presented to operators after consecu- tive years without a preventable accident. Regular safety awards are ongoing. • As a result of budget cuts, this program has been suspended. • A bonus is paid quarterly but goes on a per year basis for funding levels. A meal is provided at a meeting anytime the safety record stands at more than 45 days. There is a shared bonus pool for all drivers who had no safety violations, which is paid annually. The following were some of types of incentives and rewards reported by respondents: • Quarterly bonuses • Use of National Safety Council recognition program • Breakfasts or luncheons • Jackets • Inclusion in the annual safety banquet FIGURE 14 Duration of incentive programs.

21 gram development. The involvement of organized labor in these programs, as detailed in Figure 16, is not as high, at 43% of responding agencies. As detailed in Appendix B, 4 of the 25 responding transit agencies are not unionized. Of the unionized systems, the number involving their unions in the application of their safety program is 12 (57%). involvement of nonoperator work units While 64% of the respondents had incentive and rewards pro- grams for their bus operators, only 42% had similar programs for their maintenance and other agency departments (Figure 17). Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Safety and training department currently only provides programs for the operators at our contractors. Any other programs are at the option of the contractor. • Other, nonoperator departments do not have one. • Names on posters in the operating facilities • Printed recognition certificates • Pins, badges, and belt buckles • Gift certificates • On-the-spot recognition program. participation of employees in policy development As detailed previously, the existence of employee programs (i.e., safety, discipline, or incentive/reward) does not ensure effective self-implementation and regulation. The key to any safety program is employee and/or union “buy-in” (i.e., acceptance of and commitment to such a program). With the concept of buy-in in mind, respondents were asked several questions about union and employee involve- ment and education regarding the incentive and rewards programs. Figure 15 reveals that close to 64% of survey respondents involved bus operators in their incentive and rewards pro- FIGURE 16 Organized labor involvement in program development. FIGURE 15 Bus operator involvement in program development.

22 • Collision information is tracked on a monthly basis as is accident and incident information from the Joint health and Safety Committees. • As most of these programs started up in the past year, we have minimal data to go on. however, we have seen an approximately 4% decrease in agency accidents and a 41% decrease in contractor accidents. These statis- tics do not include our mobility services. We have also changed one contractor during the implementation of our programs and have not included its statistics in our results as we believe they will not accurately identify the impact of these programs. • Each year we have a greater number of employees earn- ing safe driver awards. • Rewards are not safety-specific, but are performance- related. • In the lost Time Program, the data are tracked by the type and decline in workmen’s compensation claims. A new program called Return to Work has impacted the number of days an employee is on workman’s comp. • They have an Automotive Service Excellence bonus for keeping up their certifications. effectiveness of Safety incentive and rewards programs Survey respondents were asked if their organization pos- sessed any data that would indicate the effectiveness of their incentive and reward programs or their impacts on agency safety performance. As shown in Figure 18, only 37.5% of respondents indicated that their agency had data to document the effectiveness of their agency’s safety-related incentive and reward programs. This is similar to the 36.4% positive response in Figure 12 to the question of whether the agency was able to monitor the effectiveness of employee discipline programs, Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Agency collates accident data and low worker’s com- pensation claims. FIGURE 17 Maintenance incentive programs. FIGURE 18 Available data to measure incentive program effectiveness.

23 • Does your organization experience communication and training problems related to the diversity of your work- force (i.e., age differences, cultural differences, etc.)? • Does your organization have an employee wellness pro- gram that addresses such items as sleep patterns, the use of over-the-counter medications, and other issues that could impact bus operator performance? Figure 19 indicates that 40% of the respondents believed they had high turnover rates among bus operators. When asked to provide details on the contributing factors, respon- dents cited: • Retirements of long-time bus operators • Changes to retirement plans that result in early retirements • low compensation and competition with other driving jobs in the community • hours of work, especially weekends, early mornings, and late evenings • Part-time entry-level positions with no hourly guarantees. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • New employees are offered only part-time hours; there are no benefits provided during part-time status. • New hires are low-paid and come in as part-time, with no guarantee of hours and very limited benefits. These hires are also required to have Commercial Drivers license (CDl) class B license with passenger endorsement. • Although we do not hire or dismiss the operators, the contractors who provide our service have reported that much of the turnover is a result of better opportunities at different transit agencies. As there are four con- tractors who provide our drivers, some of the turnover could be from operators moving within these four contractors. • The two main points of contention for our employees are compensation compared with other city departments and other businesses, and policy violations leading to terminations. Cumulative accident and attendance records are tracked to qualify for the Safe Driver Award (presented yearly). • As incentive amounts continue to increase, unsafe acts continue to decrease. • We have earned an APTA bus Safety Gold Award for the last two years, but it’s difficult to tie programs to results in any situation where the goal is to create motivation and culture. The goal is zero accidents and we are just about as close to zero as anyone seems to get. potential Changes to policies and practices One of the survey questions asked: “how can organiza- tional policies and practices toward employee incentive and reward programs be improved to enhance the agency safety?” The following provides a sampling of the types of program improvements suggested by the respondents. Agencies could: • Increase focus on positive behavior • Provide agency-wide consistency in dealing with both discipline and recognition programs • Improve management buy-in • Provide financial incentives for positive behavior • Work to change agency culture • Adapt to cultural and social requirements of the workforce. ChallengeS and opportunitieS The final questions of the survey asked respondents to address three potential factors that could impact the agency’s safety programs. The questions were: • Does your organization experience a high turnover of your bus operators? FIGURE 19 Bus operator turnover rate.

24 • Drivers dislike primarily the hours of service. They do not like working weekends or split shifts. Once they find something else that is 9 to 5 with weekends off, even for less money, they depart. • Drivers are not well paid. • The majority of our workforce leaves at retirement. • The high turnover rate in part is the result of the station manager and train operator positions. • Drivers leave through retirements, terminations, or transfers. • Because of pending changes to the state retirement plan, there have recently been a lot of regular retirements as well as a few disability retirements. There are also some operators who are terminated after progressive discipline for performance issues, such as attendance or safety. There are also some operators who resign their positions for various reasons. Figure 20 indicates that only 20% of the respondents believed their agencies experienced communication and train- ing problems related to workplace diversity. When asked to describe the problems encountered and some of the strategies to overcome them, the following items were cited: • Cultural differences affecting understanding and acceptance • Poor communication on a one-to-one basis • language barriers • literacy competency • A lack of consistent training and discipline in programs with positive reinforcement of recognition and rewards. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • Cultural differences can be a problem. People from dif- ferent areas of the world react differently to authority levels. There is also a language barrier at times, not just because of accents, but also because of dialects and comprehension. We are also experiencing an issue with the younger generation’s questioning of authority and an interesting development of a rebellious culture. • Some employees face language and literacy issues. • There are always going to be communication and gen- erational gaps when you have such a broad work force. however, consistent training and discipline programs combined with the positive reinforcement of recogni- tion and rewards helps to close these gaps. • Sometimes the message has to be carried to the one-on- one stage—learning is not complete until the trainee can restate the lesson in their own words. The challenge is to simplify information without “dumbing it down” or showing a lack of respect to the employee. Figure 21 indicates that 76% of the respondents stated their agencies had employee wellness programs that addressed issues affecting bus operator performance. When asked to pro- vide detail on their agency’s wellness programs, they listed: • Monthly or quarterly wellness newsletters, meetings, and fairs • Wellness committees • Employee assistance programs • Provision of safe medicines (e.g., cold and sinus relief, headaches, and upset stomachs) • On-site exercise facilities and/or subsidized member- ship to gyms • Sleep awareness programs • Provision of health benefits that include annual physicals and similar proactive employee health measures. Consolidated Open Ended Responses: • The company wellness program provides support and a 24-hour nurse line. • Information is covered in initial new driver training but is not reinforced at any other time. FIGURE 20 Organization diversity related communication problems.

25 and before taking any medications, including over-the- counter drugs. • We do not have a specific employee wellness program, but we do have policy and procedures to address issues such as sleep patterns, use of over-the counter-medicines and other issues. • The organization is in the process of developing a pro- gram to promote healthier habits. It currently offers a weekly yoga/meditation class. • The Joint healthcare Committee includes members of human resources as well as union representatives who put out a monthly newsletter with wellness tips and information. The committee also informs employees about their health benefits. • We require substantial fitness for duty training and assure all the operators that calling in when unfit is always preferable to coming in and “giving it the old college try.” SuMMary The following is a summary of some of the survey responses by topical area. organization and Safety • While all the survey respondents indicated they had mis- sion statements, less than 59% of the mission statements included a reference to safety. • The dissemination of the agency mission statement within the agency varied widely. • All survey respondents indicated their systems had system safety plans. • lead responsibility for implementing and monitoring the safety plans varied by agency, with the large tran- sit systems assigning the lead safety function to their • We sponsor two health fairs a year through a county-run program. • We have an excellent health benefits group that con- stantly provides trainings, meetings, etc. • A wellness program is provided for our employees; however, as the operators are employees of our contrac- tors, we do not include them in these programs. The contractors do individually provide employee assistance programs. • We provide health clinics and invite organizations to our facilities to provide information. We also have a web page that provides information. • Internal monthly safety meetings address employee health issues and substance abuse/Employee Assistance Program training, as well. Additionally, the city human resources department publishes weekly/monthly “Well- ness Newsletters.” • The human resources department puts together quar- terly wellness fairs that address these topics using some of our contracted health care providers. • Our wellness program covers physical, nutritional, men- tal, and personal wellness. Each business unit is equipped with a fully functional exercise and fitness room avail- able to all employees 24 hours a day. We have wellness consultants at every business unit. We have weight loss support groups, and an Employee Assistance Program for help with personal, financial, or emotional issues. We provide transit-safe over-the-counter medications to our employees. • We have an Employee Assistance Program. • We have an on-site exercise room and Employee Assis- tance Program. • The Employee Wellness Program is expanding to other issues. All operators are CDl-qualified with a passenger and air brake endorsement, as well as certified medically. Operators are reminded to report or seek counseling from our medical department if they have problems sleeping FIGURE 21 Employee wellness programs.

26 safety, security, risk, and/or training departments. In smaller transit agencies, the operations manager was typically responsible for the agency safety program. • The majority of respondents indicated that their agencies incorporated safety into all elements of new and existing bus operator training programs and meetings. • Unionized employment in the agency safety programs varied; with 60% of the respondents indicating those unions are included. • Almost all survey respondents stated they have hazard identification programs. • Agencies have systematic approaches to managing customer-related safety complaints. organizational policies related to Safety discipline • All the agency respondents reported that their agency has some form of formal organizational policies related to safety discipline. • Progressive discipline is widely used in the transit indus- try and offers employees and management a process in which an employer utilizes a series of consequences, increasing in severity over time, for an employee to modify any negative behavior, including misconduct, poor performance, violations of company policy, absen- teeism, and tardiness. • Survey respondents indicated that traditionally progres- sive discipline has been used to address safety-related performance deficiencies and to correct behaviors that have led to unsafe acts. • Most respondents indicated that an employee could be terminated in situations where an accident was severe and/or resulted in a death owing to gross negligence. • Only one-third of the respondents stated they had data to measure the effectiveness of the disciplinary processes. • The respondents offered the following suggestions for possible changes in discipline policies and practices. Organizations should: – Administer the policies in a consistent manner – Utilize committees – Recognize positive safety behaviors – Provide continuous training and safety awareness. Safety incentives and awards • More than 85% of the survey respondents described some type of operator safety reward and incentive program. • The most common bus operator safety program rewarded safe driving with certificates, pins, and patches. • Some respondents provided a variety of incentives, such as meals, annual safety banquets, and cash rewards. • Respondents indicated that funding safety incentive and reward programs was an ongoing challenge because of budget cutbacks. • Two-thirds of the respondents indicated that bus opera- tors were involved in the development of the agency safety incentive and reward programs. • Only approximately one-third of the respondents stated they had data to measure the effectiveness of their dis- ciplinary processes. • Despite the lack of quantitative data, agencies that use safety incentive and award programs believe they are effective. • The respondents offered the following suggestions for possible changes in safety incentive and award programs. Organizations could: – Increase focus on positive behavior – Increase management buy-in and support of the programs – Provide adequate financial support for the programs. Challenges and opportunities • Forty percent of the respondents believed that their agencies were experiencing a high turnover rate among bus operators. • Contributing factors cited for the high turnover rated included: – Retirements – low pay – Inadequate number of work hours – hours of work, especially during evenings and weekends. • Only 20% of the respondents reported that they experi- enced communication and training programs related to the diversity of their workforce. • Contributing factors cited for the high turnover rated included: – Cultural differences – language barriers – literacy competency. • Seventy-six percent of the respondents stated their agen- cies had an employee wellness program. • The following were examples of wellness programs provided: – Monthly or quarterly newsletters, meetings, and fairs – Wellness committees – Employee Assistance Programs – Provision of safe medicines (e.g., cold and sinus relief, headaches, and upset stomach) – On-site exercise facilities and/or subsidized mem- bership to gyms – Sleep awareness programs – Provision of health benefits that includes annual phys- icals and similar proactive employee health focuses.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 97: Improving Bus Transit Safety Through Rewards and Discipline addresses the practices and experiences of public transit agencies in applying both corrective actions and rewards to recognize, motivate, and reinforce a safety culture within their organizations.

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