Safety First

Safety is a core value of Kirby. We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing a safe work place that is conducive to delivering results. With safety at the core of our business, Kirby is out front challenging the status quo and pushing its operations to be the safest in the industry.

Kirby’s safety initiatives are structured around an effort that puts people and the environment first. Kirby demonstrates that commitment by investing heavily in its people through safety training, monitoring its workplaces, maintaining and building new equipment and other programs that allow us to achieve a culture of zero incidents. It is Kirby’s belief that every incident is preventable and with a combination of proper education, documentation, equipment, incentives and monitoring, we can achieve new standards for safe operations.

Kirby’s commitment to providing a safe work place stems from a belief that safety is at the core of everything we do. Kirby’s safety culture is deeply rooted in an overall business strategy and commitment to providing necessary resources, support and training towards ensuring each and every employee returns home safely at the end of the day.

We continually strive to keep improving our safety efforts to ensure that we have consistency within our business, regardless of where we operate or the task being performed.  Kirby’s safety culture is reinforced by a mindset of thinking safe first, as well as active behavioral safety and risk assessments.  These practices provide a level of confidence and professionalism that ensures our ability to remain an effective, innovative and safe service provider. This belief is shared by our management team and work force, and is engrained in every decision we make as an organization. We know that only a safe decision is the correct decision.

At Kirby, no job is so important or task so urgent that we cannot take the time to do it safely.

24 Hour Emergency Reporting Number


Safety is the first and foremost concern in everything we do

The Board of Directors review safety statistics and major incidents at all levels of the organization
Investing to ensure safe operations is good for morale and benefit financial performance
Our customers place a high value on safety
Kirby has the only inland marine U.S. Coast Guard approved training center
Company-owned and operated
In-house towboat wheelhouse simulator

Blue “No Harm” Flag Program

All boats and operations groups that achieve “No Harm” to People, the Environment and Equipment during the year fly a blue “No Harm” flag. Flying a “No Harm” flag reinforces that the employees are steadfast in their commitment to operating SAFELY every day.
Marine Transportation 2021
  • 92% of boats had gold stars at year-end
Distribution & Services 2021
  • 66% of 82 flags issued still successfully flying at yearend

Emergency Preparedness

In the event of an incident, Kirby takes its role in emergency preparedness seriously. The company maintains a highly trained and experienced Incident Management Team (IMT) comprised of numerous individuals to fill lead and back up rolls within the incident management structure. Kirby’s IMT routinely participates in emergency response drills and exercises to strengthen our skills and resources necessary to effectively respond in the event of an incident. Annually, the company conducts extensive emergency simulations with employees, customers, emergency response professionals and the U.S. Coast Guard. Kirby employees regularly attend the U.S. Coast Guard crisis management courses. Over the years, numerous Kirby employees have been recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard for Public Service Commendations and Meritorious Public Service Awards. 


At Kirby, quality is about both process and results. For that reason we have developed and implemented a comprehensive system for ensuring that customer requirements are met and exceeded on a regular basis. The foundation of this continuous improvement structure is ISO 9001. Kirby was one of the first one hundred service companies to receive ISO registration in 1993.

But the ISO-inspired Quality System is only one part of Kirby’s commitment to Continuous Improvement. Overlaying the Quality System are certified Towing Safety Management Systems as required by Subchapter M 46 CFR 138 and other components focused on incident prevention. These include our Quality Steering Committee, our Customer and Employee Surveys, our “Measurables” process and our Team Structure that encourages participation from all levels of the organization. Training and auditing help to ensure that everyone has the tools to do the job and that these tools are implemented company-wide.

If any kind of system failure does occur, Kirby’s corrective action process is implemented. This corrective action system includes processes for receiving and analyzing incidents and customer complaints, for conducting root cause analysis and for changing the system as needed so that similar problems will not recur.

At Kirby, we are committed not just to the word “quality”, but to a philosophy of ongoing customer satisfaction through a systematic approach to continuous improvement.