Respect and trust: Employees build strong relationships with coworkers to keep focus on safety
Safety is our top priority, and leadership and safety go hand in hand at BNSF. Central Texas Safety Team members Daniel Carmona and Daniel Galindo demonstrate that leadership every day by educating their coworkers on safety and keeping local train crews focused on a safe work environment.
Carmona joined BNSF as a conductor/switchman in 2005, then was promoted to a locomotive engineer in 2007. The transition to the other side of the locomotive cab was an eye-opener. Likewise, in 2011 Galindo joined BNSF as a conductor/switchman, and in 2013 was promoted to an engineer.
Today, both are based in Temple, Texas, and play an essential role in the Central Texas Safety Team. Galindo is a Transportation Safety team leader responsible for concerns, behaviors and education surrounding rail safety. Carmona is an instructor-led training (ILT) facilitator responsible for safety rules education and recertification.
“Being in control of a train comes with a wealth of knowledge and responsibility,” Galindo said.
That sense of responsibility carries over in how both men advocate for safety in the workplace. They approach every day with a safety mindset and positive attitude. From respecting coworkers to listening to concerns to seeking solutions when there’s an issue, Galindo and Carmona have the same goal: make sure everyone goes home the same way they came in.
“Crew members know that their safety is often in the hands of their coworkers and foremen,” Galindo said. “We strive to set an example.”
Their responsibilities include giving job safety briefings, checking equipment and communicating with coworkers about tools that might need work. They explained that if everyone receives the right information at the start of their shift and then again as the work changes, everyone can operate safely.
Safety measures don’t stop at the end of the day for Galindo and Carmona; they also apply safety practices at home. “When I’m outside doing yardwork with my kids, I give them safety glasses and gloves,” Carmona said. “Even in cooking you need to be aware of your surroundings.”
Galindo wears reflective gear when exercising in the early morning or later in the evening as well as safety glasses and gloves when appropriate.
Carmona and Galindo’s dedication and willingness to take initiative have kept many people safe. For example, Galindo described a time when a conductor was asked to complete a task at the end of a train, but she didn’t understand what was being asked.
“She wasn’t sure where she needed to stand, and she communicated this,” Galindo explained. “I stood with the conductor so I could walk her through the process. The task took longer, but it reduced the risk of someone getting hurt and provided a better understanding for the employee.”
Carmona has had similar experiences when his knowledge and understanding of safety rules and practices helped.
“Early in my career, I was working in a yard with a coworker who talked with his hands,” Carmona added. “Hand gestures can signal movement, and when walking between railcars someone could accidentally signal movement. I asked him to keep his hands in his pockets.”
Their interactions have built strong local relationships rooted in trust, and their leadership is having an impact beyond Temple. Both men frequently travel to remote locations to meet employees and engage in safety, diversity and inclusion, and other important conversations. Their conversational briefings, both in the field and in the classroom, allow them to spread safety awareness in their territory ranging from central Texas to West Texas and all the way to the border of Mexico.
A conversational environment open to anyone has made their teaching more effective, they believe.
“The Safety team has made it easier to understand the reasons why we do things the way we do, but not everyone works the same,” said Galindo. “I started asking people what their ‘why’ was when it comes to safety. Many say to follow the rules, but if something outside work makes you want to go home, that’s your ‘why.’ My ‘why’ is my four kids. They know dad went to work, and they want to see him come home.”
For Carmona, his ‘why’ is to make a difference. “I like being in front of people to spread the safety message,” Carmona explained. “If we can prevent injuries or harm, that’s a win.”
For their dedication, Galindo and Carmona were recognized with an Achievement Award and were honored at BNSF’s annual Employees of the Year ceremony.
BNSF is proud to have these men on our team. Congratulations to both on their standout commitment to safety education, leadership and building strong relationships.
Subscribe to our email newsletter for your region
Please subscribe to receive occasional email newsletters keeping you in the loop about BNSF and customized for where you live. Don't worry, we won't send you too many. Thanks for joining us!