AMTRAK hires an SMS expert; shouldn’t METRO ?

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Amtrak Names Ken Hylander Chief Safety Officer

Aviation SMS expert hired by AMTRAK

Expected to reduce Safety Risks for Rail System

Could help with METRO?


Experienced safety leader to implement safety management system

AMTRAK logoWASHINGTON– Amtrak has named Ken Hylander Executive Vice President and Chief Safety Officer. Hylander most recently served as 
Chairman of the Flight Safety Foundation and previously served as the Chief Safety Officer at Delta Air Lines. He will report 
directly to President and CEO Richard Anderson and be responsible for implementing a proven Safety Management System (SMS) at 

“We are improving safety at Amtrak. Keeping our customers and employees safe is our most important responsibility and a high 
quality Safety Management System is a requirement for Amtrak,” said Anderson. “Ken is a recognized leader in the implementation 
and operation of SMS, and his experience will be instrumental in helping build our safety culture.”

SMS is a proactive risk management system which builds on predictive safety management methods. SMS has been a cornerstone of improving safety in 
many industries, including aviation, health care and energy. Recently, the NTSB recommended that Amtrak implement a SMS Program. Amtrak endorses 
this NTSB recommendation.

Hylander has more than three decades of experience in the aviation industry. He retired as a senior vice president from Delta Air Lines in 2014, 
where he successfully oversaw the SMS implementation at Delta and managed the occupational, operating safety, security, quality and environmental 
compliance programs.

He currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Flight Safety Foundation and is an independent member of the Board of Directors of Monroe 
Energy in Trainer, Pennsylvania, an oil refinery subsidiary of Delta Air Lines.

Hylander was Northwest Airlines’ Chief Safety Officer prior to the airline’s merger with Delta. Before joining Northwest in 1997 
as the Ken HylanderVice President of Quality, Reliability and Engineering, Hylander spent nearly 17 years at United Airlines where he held 
a variety of engineering, quality assurance, and operations management positions.



Richard-Anderson-Maybe, it is because Richard Anderson is Amtrak’s president and chief executive officer. As a 25-year veteran of the aviation industry (his previous post was former chief Amtrak mapexecutive officer of both Delta and Northwest Airlines), he knew of aviation’s progress in risk reduction and enhanced safety.





Maybe it was the point raised by Railway Age:


And while final Federal Railroad Administration numbers for 2017 aren’t available, media reports chronicled the sad stories of 
eight U.S. railroad employees who died in safety-related railroad incidents. In spite of the railroads’ best efforts, including 
work by a dedicated corps of safety professionals, the rail industry has never gone a calendar year without an employee or 
contractor fatality.

In sharp contrast, scheduled U.S. passenger airlines ended 2017 with an exemplary safety record—0 crashes, 0 crew fatalities, 
and 0 passenger fatalities. That’s zip, zero, nada. Further, 2017 was actually the eighth calendar year that scheduled U.S. 
passenger airlines could make this claim!

However the inspiration occurred, the idea of using the lessons which the aviation industry in another mode of transportation would seem self-evident.







Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has had similar problems and has received recommendations from the NTSB that the transit system should adopt SMS.




WMATA Chairman Evans, there’s good news. There are a lot of available candidates—trained on SMS, CRM and other risk-reduction techniques; effective change agents; skilled in dealing with organized employees; internally motivated to create a safety culture; and otherwise good humans. We could help you find them.


What was good for Amtrak should work for METRO.


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