Swiss Federal Railways Case Study
Safety pays big dividends for Swiss Federal Railways
Swiss railways have acquired an enviable reputation for punctuality, cleanliness, and strike-free operation. A comparison of several nations’ railway systems in 1993 showed Swiss railways’ image as one of the leaders in public esteem. The same survey also highlighted a less palatable fact. Swiss railways’ occupational safety record showed an average of 13.8 incidents per 100 employees per year. For comparison: this was double the rate of the average of 40 railway companies in the United States, and five times as high as that of British Rail.
To investigate the causes of this situation, the SBB carried out an internal study that revealed various safety-related shortcomings. In his search for remedies, Dr. Hauser attended a seminar in Paris organized by DuPont Sustainable Solutions. There, he heard that — among other successes — DuPont Sustainable Solutions had helped cut the incident rate at Burlington Northern, which operates the largest railway system in the United States, from 13.95 per 200,000 hours worked to 3.95 in only two years.