Freight railroads like BNSF are critical links in a national supply chain responsible for the safe, efficient delivery of food, fuel, and medicine
This article is a submission by PNWER sponsor BNSF and does not necessarily reflect the views of PNWER.
The safety of BNSF Railway's employees, contractors, customers and the communities we serve is the most important thing we do. We're taking the necessary precautions to protect their health and safety as well as ensure our operations are not impacted from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Freight railroads like BNSF are critical links in a national supply chain responsible for the safe, efficient delivery of food, fuel, and medicine, as well as chemicals used to treat municipal drinking water and other supplies vital to everyday life—and the nation's emergency response capabilities. The goods our railroad moves include the vital supplies needed to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus. These products include medical supplies; agriculture and food products; consumer goods of all types; chemicals necessary to create cleaning products—like bleach, and to treat local and regional water supplies; paper products for diapers, paper towels, and toilet paper. All this is in addition to the substantial amounts of essential food items we transport across the country.
Acknowledging the essential role of the nation’s railroads, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued guidance on critical infrastructure workers (https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19) to include the railroad industry and its employees. Similarly, many state and local governments have designated our industry and employees as essential as they issue orders to address the pandemic. We understand that this situation is extraordinary, placing additional strain on both work and home life. Many of our employees—such as train crews, dispatchers, maintenance and engineering crews and others—play a critical role in daily train operations and customer service. While rail service must continue during this time, we will continue to protect the health of our employees and ensure we operate as safely as possible.
We have been following the guidance and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health agencies. Additionally, we have created detailed employee guidance on workplace behavior and implemented strict response protocols should an employee exhibit symptoms or come into contact with someone who is symptomatic or tests positive. Our Medical team continues to closely monitor the situation on any additional measures that should be implemented. We're regularly communicating with our employees on this rapidly changing situation. We appreciate all they do to ensure essential goods reach you and your communities.