Safety First

Safety is a core value of Kirby. We pride ourselves on our commitment to providing a safe workplace 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 workplace 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 toward 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 workforce, 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

(713) 435-1195

Safety is the first and foremost concern in everything we do


All levels of supervision have safe work responsibility

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 benefits financial performance


NO HARM award banquets held annually to reward and recognize deserving employees


NO HARM flags awarded to all towboats, tugboats, and facilities with zero incidents


Employers are expected to adhere to safety rules as a condition of employment


All employees, contractors, and consultants are required to follow our safety policy

Kirby has the only inland marine U.S. Coast Guard approved training center
Company-owned and operated
In-house towboat wheelhouse simulator

Kirby Corporation Employee Safety

Kirby Marine Transportation

  • Downward trend since pre- COVID 2019 for employee injury rates
  • Reduced lost time incidents in 2022 by 40% vs. pre-COVID levels (2019)
  • Reduced total recordable injuries in 2022 by 14% vs. 2021, and 39% vs. pre-COVID levels (2019)
  • Driving continuous improvement and awareness through employee engagement, setting expectations, implementing best practices, conducting safety meetings, and regular safety seminars and programs

Kirby Distribution and Services

  • Recordable rates deterioration 2021 compared to 2020
  • 2023 focus on key initiatives to improve safety performance:
    • Site specific safety improvement plans
    • Establishment of Safety Steering Committees for each location
    • Increased Employee engagement in reporting hazards and near misses

    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 2022

     97% of boats had gold stars at year-end

    Distribution & Services 2022

     80% of 82 flags issued still successfully flying at year-end

    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) consisting of numerous individuals to fill lead and back up roles 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.