Union Pacific Team Reaches Safety Landmark in Los Angeles

Union Pacific Team Reaches Safety Landmark in Los Angeles | LR

Team members celebrating 20 years reportable injury free (left to right): Levi Cephas, truck driver; John Romo, machine operator; Alejandro Ramirez, track foreperson; Nathan Munoz, manager-Track Maintenance; Ron Whitelow, truck driver; David Palmer, track supervisor; Rolando Ochoa, machine operator; Julio Garcia, track supervisor; Jesse Mora, track supervisor; Ivan Fuentes, track supervisor; and Steve Barboza, specialized gang foreperson.

The Los Angeles Basin is a busy railroad corridor, but no matter how busy it gets, a Union Pacific Engineering team puts safety first.

Los Nietos District Maintenance of Way team members – the railroaders who continuously inspect the condition of rail, ties, signals and ballast to ensure the railway remains clear and navigable – celebrated 20 years reportable injury-free in early September.

The group handles a high-traffic stretch of track dotted with rail yards from East Los Angeles through Orange County to the ports of Long Beach, California, keeping the intermodal traffic rolling smoothly.

Working in a densely populated area, Nathan Munoz, manager-Track Maintenance, said his 14-member team remains a model of consistency, with a track record of effective communication and attention to detail.

“Every day, we discuss how to handle the different outside-of-railroading challenges such as automotive traffic and numerous pedestrians,” said Munoz, a local who has led the team for two years. “We know the territory well.”

A handful of the team members have been there for the entire 20-year safety record, and the rest of the team builds off their example, Munoz said. This collaborative approach of older and newer employees is a key reason behind their impressive safety record.

“They’re the core group who leads the way for our newer members,” he said, noting that includes two members with just under a year of experience, plus many more in the five- to 10-year range.

“It’s a tight-knit group that’s been together for a long time,” Munoz said.

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