A commitment to working safely is ingrained in Norfolk Southern’s corporate culture — it is the “S” in our SPIRIT values. The company’s No. 1 priority is for employees to end the workday the same way they began it — safe and sound.

Industry-Leading Efforts Earn Norfolk Southern a Seat on National Council

Norfolk Southern strives to set the rail industry standard for workplace safety, employee health, and environmental sustainability. In 2014, in recognition of the railroad’s emphasis on environmental, health, and safety, or EHS, leadership, Norfolk Southern was accepted for membership in the Campbell Institute at the National Safety Council.

Earning membership reinforces the company’s commitment to EHS innovation and helps the railroad remain on top of ever-evolving workforce requirements, regulatory responsibilities, and customer and community expectations.

Applicants to the institute undergo a rigorous selection process.

“Norfolk Southern has two core values the Campbell Institute looks for in its members — a commitment to continuous improvement and the desire to give back,” said John Dony, director of environmental, health, safety and sustainability at the National Safety Council. “We look forward to working with Norfolk Southern to identify best practices and share them widely for the benefit of other employers and industries around the globe.”

“We want to stay on the cutting edge of safety and environmental thinking and technologies and work with leaders, learn from leaders, and continue to be leaders.”

Mark Manion
executive vice president and
chief operating officer

Examples of Norfolk Southern’s approach to EHS are:

  • A focus on safety at every level of the company, driven by 124 employee-led local safety and service committees.
  • Adoption of behavior-based safety principles that aim to improve safety and working relationships by focusing on positive reinforcement of desired behaviors and peer-to-peer support.
  • Leadership for Operation Lifesaver and TRANSCAER®, community-focused efforts that focus on public safety outreach.
  • Distinction as first large U.S. railroad certified under new and improved specifications from the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care Management System.
  • Partnerships with safety leaders such as DuPont and Aubrey Daniels International.
  • Leadership in development and use of locomotive fuel-saving technologies.
  • “Trees and Trains” program to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, expand wildlife habitat, and benefit communities.

Safety is No. 1

President Jim Squires, who became CEO in June 2015, summed up Norfolk Southern’s commitment to safety at the railroad’s 2014 Investor and Financial Analyst Conference in Cleveland:

“We are totally committed to the safe and secure delivery of the goods that power America. It’s just fundamental to what we are trying to accomplish every single day. We know that we are entrusted with a great responsibility to protect those whom we serve, our customers, and our employees, and members of the communities through which we run. So, I can say unequivocally that safety will always be our top priority as a company.”

EHS Center of Excellence

The Campbell Institute, a national Environmental, Health, and Safety Center of Excellence, provides a platform for diverse industries to share knowledge, best practices, and successes through research, partnerships, and networking events. Some of America’s best-known companies are among the institute’s 33 members, including Chevron, Dow, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Georgia-Pacific, U.S. Steel, Whirlpool, and United Parcel Service.

Why We Work Safely: “I Am Coming Home”

Norfolk Southern in early 2015 introduced a new safety message to refocus employee attention on why safety is the railroad’s top priority.

The message — “I Am Coming Home” — links job safety to returning home safe to family and friends. Mark Manion, executive vice president and chief operating officer, introduced the message during the company’s annual Safety and Service Awards Celebration and Expo.

“There’s nothing more important than this,” Manion said. “We’re excited about this message because we’re serious about its meaning. We want to make sure that each and every one of us gets home safe every day.”

The message has been incorporated into the company’s safety vision statement: “We get home safe every day. No job is so important and no service is so urgent that we cannot take the time to perform our work safely. I am coming home.”