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June 03, 2016
New rules strengthen protection for railroad workers

Two new regulations are expected to make work safer for those employed by U.S. railroads. Keep reading to find out what’s changed.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has issued two final rules to better protect railroad employees working or near tracks. One amends the Roadway Worker Protection regulation in several ways, including by addressing the safe movement of roadway maintenance equipment over track. It also implements recommendations on working limits and requires another level of redundant signal protection. The amendments require that job briefings include information on the accessibility of the roadway worker in charge and annual training for those serving in that position.

The FRA is also expanding the scope of its existing drug and alcohol testing procedures concerning maintenance employees. Currently, an affected worker is only tested if he or she has died as a result of an incident. Now these workers will be fully subject to an FRA policy that includes preemployment, random, postaccident, reasonable suspicion, reasonable cause, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx calls the changes commonsense rules to make railroads safer.

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