The industry-initiated Responsible Carrier Program (RCP) is designed
as a framework for continuously improving the industry's safety
performance. AWO members use the RCP as a guide in developing company-specific
safety and environmental programs that are tailored to the unique
operational environments found in the barge and towing industry.
The program complements and builds upon existing government regulations,
requiring company safety standards that exceed those required by
federal law or regulation.
The RCP incorporates best industry practices in three primary areas,
including company management policies, vessel equipment and human
factors. The comprehensive program requires companies to obtain
a third party audit by a certified AWO RCP auditor to verify compliance. The program has been lauded
by many groups, including the U.S. Coast Guard and shipper organizations.
In an unusual step for a trade association, AWO members voted in
April of 1998 to require a commitment to RCP compliance as a condition
of membership in the association.